Workplace conflict is inevitable. Conflict occurs when you gather people from different backgrounds with varying work styles together. Unclarified workplace roles, unmet needs, and personality differences can cause issues in the office.
Though you can’t stop conflict from occurring, you can take steps to ensure it happens less often. Keep reading to find our tips on how to avoid conflict as much as possible.
1. Set the Tone
A conflict-free workplace environment starts with management. If you want to work in a more positive atmosphere, you need a positive attitude yourself. There are many ways you can begin to cultivate a more positive work culture.
Gone are the days of cut-throat and take-no-prisoner work environments. Not only are high-pressure environments not conducive to productivity, but they also make employees stressed and miserable too. Most employee burnouts are caused by unfair treatment and unmanageable workloads.
You can’t very well have a positive workplace free of conflict if your staff are always at their wit’s end. Cheerful management providing practical workloads ensures employees are equipped to deal with workplace challenges.
2. Encourage Respectful Communication
Your employees will respect one another if management is dishing out the same type of respect in return. Treat your staff members how you would like to be treated. Respect can be determined through more than how staff speaks to one another.
Non-verbal communication and tone of voice are big determinants of respect. Listen to what your staff has to say and resist the urge to interrupt someone
Encourage staff to share their ideas with the team and to always be actively listening.
3. Hold People Accountable
When conflict does happen, management needs to step in to ensure it is resolved appropriately. Every workplace needs to have clear and consistent policies in place for dealing with conflict. Your conflict resolution policy will depend upon the type of workplace you manage and the number of staff you employ.
Sometimes intense conflicts may necessitate workplace discipline. Penalizations should also be clear in your conflict resolution policies. You may wish to try methods such as:
- letters of reprimand
- verbal and written warnings
- mandatory on-the-job training
- mental health days
- performance improvement plans
You can also encourage staff to manage their own conflicts instead of bringing them up the organizational chain. This can provide your employees with the confidence they need to handle their issues on their own. Be sure to follow up, though, to ensure that the conflict’s root cause has been addressed.
You might also wish to hold yourself accountable as a manager. Try taking a conflict assessment to see if you’re nailing or missing your resolution goals.
4. Don’t Put it Off
It’s essential for management to deal with conflict as soon as it’s brought to their attention. Putting off conflict resolution is like ignoring household rot or mold – it can spread to every corner of your business. This will not only affect the unity of your team but workplace happiness, too.
When you don’t step in to stop the conflict, you’re sending a message to your team that it’s okay to behave this way. This affects teamwork and is detrimental to the workplace culture you’re trying to cultivate.
You shouldn’t expect to be able to resolve every conflict as soon as they arise. But if you’re at least addressing it when you get wind of it, your team knows it’s on your radar.
5. Provide the Right Tools
You can take steps to prevent workplace conflict by offering an efficient and exciting workplace for your team. Happy employees have more emotional stability and will be less likely to lash out or create conflict.
Give staff a safe space to provide feedback. Many employees may not feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, especially if they’re no all positive. Suggestion boxes or apps like CultureAmp allow staff to share their thoughts and views in a safe and non-intimidating way.
Promoting physical and mental health can make a difference in workplace happiness levels. Plan health-centric events like a company race day or obstacle courses to encourage activity. If your budget allows, gift everyone FitBits, and hold weekly step competitions for small prizes.
Prioritizing a sustainable work/life balance is huge for keeping employees engaged and happy. Offer work from home days and encourage your staff to take breaks throughout their day. Commit to workload reviews to ensure you’re not overworking your staff, too.
Make yourself available. One of the key preventative strategies for conflict is to create an atmosphere where your staff feels comfortable. Foster an environment where your employees can come to you with issues before they get worse.
6. Nail Down the Company Culture
The culture of your business refers to the attitudes and behaviors expected of both management and employees. It consists of shared beliefs and value systems between leaders and staff. Culture relies on creating an environment of trust and encouraging self-improvement.
There are many ways you can improve your company’s culture.
Get new employees off on the right start by improving your orientation and onboarding processes. Almost 30% of new employees quit within the first three months, so ensure their first few days are engaging and welcoming.
Create an environment where your staff feels empowered. Provide them with the support and tools they need to make decisions on their own. Micromanaging every little detail of their workload is disempowering.
Educate your staff on the purpose of the company, its objectives, and action plans. Let them know how they can make a difference in the company to connect to the business’s mission.
Take Steps to Avoid Conflict
It’s not difficult to avoid conflict in the office if you’re willing to put in the work. Good managers are always working towards creating a harmonious and happy workplace environment.
Keep reading our blogs for more business tips to help you create an efficient and happy workplace.