Correctly Handle Conflict In The Workplace

May 22nd, 2015

Avoiding conflict is common and sometimes necessary to maintain sanity, but as a manager it is critical that you are able to correctly deal with conflict in your organization. Whenever you have more than one person in a place there is bound to be natural disagreements, and the key is how to solve them. Far too often in order to avoid these negative confrontations, managers allow low production or bad behavior to continue. If you need to put a stop to conflict in your office, here are some easy to follow ideas.

Walk a mile in their shoes.

Constructive criticism is often avoided in an effort to maintain positivity in the office. Unfortunately, sometimes it is far too late to stop some of the bad habits this encourages. If an employee doesn’t know  their performance isn’t up to your standards then they really can’t be held reliable for it. You need to share your concerns with them as mistakes happen and give them a chance to improve. This communication will help eliminate the changes of much bigger mistakes in the future.

Provide a pathway for feedback.

When you wait until everything has gone terribly wrong to talk to your employees, then it will be clear that you only meet with them for bad reasons. A manager who has a reputation of only sharing negative feedback will be universally disliked by their employees. Instead, create a pathway to provide all types of feedback in the form of one-on-one conversations with employees. Do this routinely (weekly or monthly) and let people know they can bring concerns to you at any time.

Bring data to the table.

Avoiding conflict is usually about fear of the unknown. What will they say? How will they react? Will they argue? They may become defensive or give excuses for their behavior. Of course, all of these will happen at one point or another so it is important to be prepared. Having the right information to back up your side of the story is critical. This will stop the employee from trying to challenge your position.

Don’t make it personal.

Of course, you need to step back from the fear that you will sound mean when you address conflict. You also need to stress to your employees that you’re never attacking them as a person, but you need to solve critical issues in the office that aren’t conducive to productivity. Always let them know you’re criticism is based on your believe that they are capable of doing a better job.

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