Managing Conflict in the Workplace

Disagreements are a natural occurrence in the workplace. Employee conflicts caused by personality clashes and work stresses should be dealt with quickly by managers before they can escalate. The use of some simple techniques to help with managing conflict in the workplace can help.

Workplace Conflict

Personality clashes are a common reason for employee conflicts. Having large groups of people in the working environment will mean not everyone will get along.

Increased workloads and the stresses of work are both reasons for workplace conflicts between employees.

Personal problems brought into the workplace can also cause stress and make employees more likely to engage in arguments. Employee disputes will always happen, but a good manager should be able to spot the problem and find some form of solution.


Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

Conflict resolution in the workplace is simply a business term for airing the employee problem and finding a workable solution.

If the conflict has been brought to the attention of a manager then it should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Employee conflicts can have a serious impact on other members of staff and can decrease productivity in the workplace. They can also lead to instances of bullying in the workplace. It is part of an employer’s duty of care to manage this type of behaviour and keep all staff safe.

In basic terms, dispute resolution can be investigated by allowing each employee to state their case to a manager individually. Once the facts from each employee have been assessed a meeting with both employees can take place.


Bringing Both Employees to a Conflict Resolution Meeting

One of the steps of conflict resolution could be bringing both employees together to air their differences.

This meeting should take place under the supervision of unbiased manager or member or mediator. Successfully dealing with employee conflicts does take experience and training.

The manager does need to remain neutral; taking sides with one employee will only help to aggravate the other employee. The employees involved should be made aware of the rules of the meeting before the actual meeting takes place.


Employee Conflicts Caused by Personality Clashes Vs Work Issues

There is a big difference between conflicts caused by personality clashes and those caused by work issues.

Disputes over work issues are a common issue in any workplace and can usually be dealt with by managers. But employee personality clashes can be difficult to handle.

Many employers feel that personality clashes are unacceptable in the workplace and will simply not be tolerated. It is not uncommon for employers to threaten employees who have personality clashes with disciplinary procedures.


Dealing with Personality Conflicts

Having to deal with employee personality clashes is a managerial skill, but too many managers simply turn their backs and avoid the situation.

Managing conflict in the workplace can be approached in many different ways. Many managers will use methods aimed at boosting workplace morale to try and solve the conflict.

Others will simply separate the employees, which can be a temporary solution. Investigating the cause of the conflict should be the first step towards a long term solution.

Increasing disciplinary procedures should be the last resort when trying to solve this type of issue at work.


Methods to Consider When Managing Conflict in the Workplace

There are many different ways to help solve employee conflicts. The methods used will depend on the type of conflict but can include:

  • Managers should not look to blame individuals as this will do nothing to solve the root problem.
  • Reminding workers to act in a professional manner can help to stop conflicts.
  • Personality clashes can be resolved by separating workers for a period known as a cooling off period.
  • Investigate the workplace environment and assess whether this is the cause of stress for staff.
  • Eliminate competition in the workplace by reminding staff members that this is a team effort and everyone is equal.
  • Consider anger management courses and mediation for staff who do have personality clashes.
  • Investigate issues that may be causing the conflict such as unreasonable work deadlines and increased workloads.
  • Encourage employees to talk through their problems with each other in a neutral environment.

Managers should be well aware of the effect that can be caused by conflicts at work. Conflict resolution should be part of any good manager’s set of skills.

Ignoring the dispute will simply allow it to continue and escalate. Conflict resolution should be used at the earliest possible time to solve this type of workplace problem.

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