Steps in resolving conflict in the workplace

Resolving conflict in the workplace

Conflicts are inevitable. As with any relationship, professional relationships within the office setting could turn sour at any moment. Be it pride, jealousy, issues on professionalism, or petty moods and ill tempers, conflicts, though human in nature, can have serious implications in the overall growth and productivity within the work environment.

Primarily concerned in managing and resolving conflicts is the human resources department. While most management consultants believe that solving conflicts often involve an entire team effort, an unbiased and objective approach from the HR department creates an internal process in dealing with conflicts and disagreements.

Here are the steps that HR departments should take in resolving problems and improving relationships between employees.

Never ignore conflict.

While some would say that time heals conflicts and ignoring them will eventually make them go away, it’s better to note that conflict is a cycle that sustains itself. Left unresolved, disagreements and tensions between employees can breed further hate and misunderstanding.

The first step in solving any type of problem is recognising it. By doing this, arguing parties can start working towards a solution.

Discuss the conflict with the parties present.

When discussing the conflict and its details, ensure that both parties are present to better communicate their side of the story. Working with one side of the party will make the mediator seem biased. Meeting both parties at the same time can help give a clearer perspective on what’s happening, what’s going on in each other’s heads, and how things would/should pan out.

This meeting/discussion should be done to address the problem and not polarise the parties or put blame on one party. Discuss the origin and nature of the conflict. Recognise that conflicts happen to the best of us.

After discussing the nature of the conflict, focus on brainstorming for a solution.

Give both parties a chance to suggest and justify a solution to the problem. After that create a solution that both parties can agree to. Remind the employees about the realities of the conflict and how it can affect the company and other employees.

Solutions are born out of mutual recognition and commitment in resolving the problem. Make the parties commit to the solution and recognise the efforts of both parties. Assure them with your trust in resolving their problems.

Bring it up and shut it down in an office meeting.

While some cases might not necessitate this step, other situations will benefit a lot from this. A short office meeting or a short announcement during a meeting can help put the problem to rest. Assure everyone that the conflict was resolved to stop further discussions and gossiping. Additionally, this step allows everyone to recognise the progress between the parties.

While it’s human nature to develop and spiral into a state of conflict, it’s also human nature to correct mistakes and create solutions to get past conflicts.

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