When it comes to having a successful business, it is crucial that you keep your employees happy. It is inevitable that disputes will arise, but it is how you handle team conflict that can make or break your workplace culture. If workplace conflicts continue to arise amongst your team members and are not appropriately handled, the working environment can become toxic, leading to further disputes and significantly reduce the overall happiness of your employees. Leaders need to act swiftly and concisely to deal with issues to ensure productivity is not hindered in any way and that the dynamics of your team remain intact.
If you are facing such issues at your workplace, here are a few simple, yet effective ways to improve conflict management and improve teamwork:
When you first become aware of a conflict between team members, it is essential to listen to both parties before jumping to any conclusions or solely judging the situation from an outsiders perspective. This step is vital to understand what the people who are involved are thinking and feeling, and at the same time, it will help you understand the nature and causes of conflict.
Active listening can lead to effective troubleshooting, and you will also be able to be aware of such problems in future as well. As an impartial third perspective, you may be able to more clearly see where common ground can be reached between the two sides.
Do not take sides
If you are in a leadership position and it is time for some conflict resolution between your employees, you need to behave like a true leader. There is no point in giving opinions that favor any one person over another – that will just lead to more clashes in the future.
For effective problem-solving, you have to be impartial and provide a reasonable and fair solution to the situation at hand. Keep your body language and facial expressions neutral, hear out all viewpoints, and fully channel your role as facilitator. This will ensure that all team members involved will feel like their concerns and feelings are important, no matter their position within the company.
Do not postpone the solution
When conflicts are not addressed in time, they can start to effect an employees performance. However, you also need to be sure not to address the situation too early because it will not give you time to properly consider the situation. Take action sooner rather than later.
Do you notice your employee getting frustrated easily over simple things or is their performance slipping? It may be time to step in to help resolve the conflict. Your decision must be balanced, and it should not hamper the work performance of your team.
Meet with team members together
Let both parties explain their points of view and air their grievances in a common meeting; there is no point in meeting with them individually to address the situation. Lay out ground rules that will make it easier for both sides to explain the reason for their behavior, and be sure to provide them with the space to ask questions to really understand one another. Some employee conflicts begin with a miscommunication that could be cleared up through an open dialogue – though this won’t solve all types of conflicts.
Being empathetic, or the ability to share and understand a person’s feelings is important not just as a conflict management skill, but for your company culture entirely.
According to Society For Human Resource Management, a study conducted by a global HR consulting company found that empathy is a leadership skill that is most strongly linked to performance, so it is a crucial skill to develop. Lastly, don’t forget to follow up and make sure that you’ve truly managed to resolve conflicts.
Leaders need to be patient and vigilant when it comes to dealing with the conflicts among team members. One wrong decision can leave a long-lasting impact on the performance of your employee’s, so make sure to prioritize the happiness of your employees, and seek to resolve any conflicts before they get out of hand. If all else fails, don’t forget that you can always reach out to your HR department to help diffuse any situation that may arise between members of your team.