Conflict Resolution in the Workplace
Congratulations! You got the job! Getting a new job is often fun and exciting, but inevitably, working with new people can lead to conflict. Disagreements and drama can start early on in a job, and will only get worse when not dealt with appropriately. Unfortunately, many of these conflicts cannot be resolved with a pillow fight, so it is extremely important for employees and employers to know how to deal with disagreements appropriately. Conflict resolution is not always common sense, but when you follow these tips, you can turn a hostile work environment into a happy workplace.
According to an article on theladders.com, "Examples of conflict rearing its head early in a job include:
- Someone just said something, and you find yourself rolling your eyes in aggravation and impatience.
- You just said something, and someone got surprisingly argumentative and demeaning.
- Someone else spoke and several others shut down and started drifting away.
- Having witnessed this all before, you too, are starting to think about giving up and going home."
People use many different strategies to handle conflict resolution, but many of them are not effective. One of the most common mistaken forms of conflict resolution is ignoring the issues. The conflict will not go away if you avoid it, and often sweeping the issues under the rug can make them worse. Conflict affects everyone in the work environment. As an employer, it is also important to deal with the conflict between employees carefully. Do not meet separately with the people involved in the conflict. According to humanresources.about.com, "If you allow each individual to tell their story to you, you risk polarizing their positions." It's best to speak with both parties involved in the conflict to determine a solution that will work for both of them. It is also important to remember that office conflict affects more than just the parties involved. Conflict resolution is extremely important because a conflict between two people can make the work environment miserable for everyone in the office.
The best way to deal with a conflict in the workplace is to follow the Interest-Based Relational Approach (IBR approach). When using the IBR approach to deal with a hostile work environment, it's important to remember that good relationships are the first priority. You want to be sure to keep people and problems separate. Mindtools.com reminds you to "recognize that in many cases the other person is not just 'being difficult' – real and valid differences can lie behind conflicting positions. By separating the problem from the person, real issues can be debated without damaging working relationships." Once you're aware that many workplace problems arise from personal problems, you can begin to resolve the issues more effectively.
At Menlo Partners we know that dealing with conflict in the workplace is very important. When left to its own devices, a hostile work environment can cause problems for everyone present.