Workplace conflict is a term that can encompass many situations. Most of the times it is industry and niche oriented. Conflicts are an integral part of any enterprise. The workplace is a forum where ideas come together and people try to make them a reality. The processes such as brainstorming, combined with tight schedules and responsibilities can lead to heated arguments. It might seem like a bad thing to have in a company, but actually, it is a necessary process. And as long as it leads to a solution, conflict can be productive. It is a good thing to have in our company. It means that we have put together a complementary team that comes up with different ideas and methods. Otherwise, we would have a bunch of people thinking the same thing, which is not ideal. That would be an echo chamber of an idea. Here are some tips on how to steer conflict down a productive path.
Many confrontations are superficial in nature and are caused by common, everyday heat of business life. We can avoid most of it by cultivating a light-hearted and humorous working environment. Tasteful humor can enable us to say and get away with things that might otherwise be difficult to convey or might even offend someone. One key pivoting moment to pay attention to here is to laugh with the coworkers, not at them. Humor is a great tool to use for reducing tension and anger. It can also reframe the problem and put the situation into better perspective. Humor manipulates conflict to become an opportunity for problem-solving and better coworker cohesion. It is definitely the best place to start when dealing with conflict. If it fails, we move on down the chain.
Choosing a role
Moving forward, we can play many different roles in our company, when it comes to mediating conflict. It depends on the rules that are imposed on us, as well as what our goals are. We can act formally or informally. We can also prevent, resolve or contain conflict. Roles are plentiful for us to inhabit. We can be a provider, teacher, mediator, witness, peacekeeper, referee, etc. Choosing a role can depend on what we feel most comfortable with, or on what the situation demands. The common goal is that any confrontation should be steered towards a productive solution, as previously stated.
Discussion in confrontation
One of the best methods of resolving conflict is through mediation by a professional senior or superior. The cases can be made and discussed in great detail by all parties. Everyone has to be given a chance to present their perspectives. As the more experienced one, the senior will analyze the problem and find a solution. This solution will ideally suit the needs of all parties involved and produce an outcome that is optimal for the entire organization. Also, creating a convenient feedback system for everyone to use is a great thing to do. For employees to express their concerns or give constructive advice may be a proactive step to take. Who knows how many conflicts might be avoided in the future. If employees have the feeling that they are being listened to and are contributing, it will be greatly appreciated.
Considering professional help
If all else fails, or the resources cannot be spared for mediating conflict, professional help is a valid option. There are plenty of organizations like Segal Mediation Group that can help us deal with workplace conflict. By off sourcing the conflict mediation to organizations that specialize in that field we gain access to multiple benefits. Because of the experience in this field, we can expect quick results, as the mediation takes a very short time. These solutions are also cost-effective both financially and in terms of time and effort spent. And if we are talking legal fees, these cost just a fraction of that.
Our company will hopefully grow and with it, so will our workforce and environment. It will become increasingly turbulent and prone to conflict. That gives us even more reason to be proactive and maintain a cool, rational, and calculated approach to solving them. The goal is always the same: resolve all conflicts as quickly as possible with everyone satisfied. Self-evaluate our position and role in the conflict. Listen carefully to all parties involved, and wage all the arguments. Demonstrate the willingness to carry out the optimal solution for everyone and the bottom line, as well.