Workplace conflict is a serious issue
It is easy to look the other way when conflicts arise between employees. Perhaps you’re busy or you feel that adults should work out problems on their own. Or maybe you just hate confrontation and avoid it at all cost. However, addressing conflict quickly and effectively is critical to the success of your team. Consider for a moment these facts:
- Strained relationships between employees account for 60% to 70% of unproductive time and difficult situations, according to workplace experts.
- You are spending anywhere from 25% to 40% of your time managing conflict, The Washington Business Journal reports. That’s a lot of wasted time that you could devote to improving your organization’s bottom line.
If those points aren’t enough for you to rise up against workplace conflict, consider the legal liabilities. Misunderstandings and tension among employees can expose your organization to lawsuits, discrimination cases and even violent behavior.
Although handling conflict after it arises is a critical skill, successful managers understand how to stop conflict before it escalates. You won’t waste time refereeing workers’ arguments. In addition, you’ll contribute to your bottom line by incorporating strategies that build a harmonious workforce.
Use these tips to head off conflict before it spins out of control:
- Develop clear policies. Leave no question in employees’ minds that rude behavior, bullying and intolerance are unacceptable. Tip: Consider providing a diversity program to educate workers about unintended slights that can raise workplace tensions.
- Recognize untapped employee strengths. If employees feel appreciated for their unique talents, they will be less likely to resent their co-workers. Take advantage of opportunities to praise each employee’s efforts.
- Treat everyone fairly. You may prefer the personalities of certain workers or value their contributions more. Don’t allow that to interfere with decisions on work assignments, workplace perks or pay raises. Example: If you are training your star performer to take over some of your duties, consider whether other employees should gain new skills as well.
Training your management staff to effectively handle conflict is critical to the success of your employees—and your organization. In Essential Skills for Managing Conflict, you are provided with everything you need to train your people to recognize, deal with and resolve conflicts. This budget-friendly product contains:
- A 60-minute audio conference, Dealing With “Difficult” People (a $229 value).
- A 26-minute video, Solving People Problems on the Job (a $149 value).
- Step-by-step guides for identifying the sources of common conflicts, dealing with difficult situations effectively and preventing conflicts.
- Tools team members can use to understand their personal styles and values—and how those can lead to conflict.
- A detailed guide managers can use to train their team members to deal with conflict.
- Loads of customizable and print-ready forms that save time and effort.