Conflict in the workplace can be difficult to manage. What steps do you have in place to manage these issues?
Credit Union Times released a fantastic article by Tahira Hayes that is full of information every owner, manager, or someone entering a new career in management should take the time to read. Most of us spend at least 40 hours per week at work and that can spell trouble for some people. How do we go about resolving conflicts before they cause an office meltdown? Check out their tips and some of my thoughts below!
Think of a time that you have had an issue with someone, either a coworker or family member. Is it safe to say that the issue came about because of miscommunication? In fact, that’s a pretty common theme when it comes to conflict.
Dr. Paul White, a psychologist, author, speaker and consultant who specializes in coaching in the workplace, says that most conflict happens because of a misunderstanding.
Taking time to listen before responding is key!
2. Allow employees to solve their own problems.
It is far more likely that people with resolve their issues together rather than when their manager gets involved. Not only is it probably a bit embarrassing for both parties, most people tend to follow through on their own ideas rather than ones from outside sources. Give them time to figure it out before you step in!
3. Provide immediate feedback.
Can you remember something you did a week ago that may have had a negative impact on someone? Something you may not have even been aware of? Of course not. This is why immediate feedback is so important. We all have busy lives, schedules, and things taking up space in our brains.
Dr. White says if you’re trying to help people improve or change their behavior, immediate feedback with specifics is far more effective than waiting until an annual review. “Research is showing that the annual review is a waste of time in terms of showing good results because people are trying to pack too much into it and people do best with immediate feedback,” he said.
4. Separate encouragement from constructive criticism.
Constructive criticism is still criticism. Yes, it’s done with a positive twist, but at the very center, it is still a critique. For this reason, never encourage and criticize at the same time. It can lead to confusion and, most importantly, they likely will not have heard much positive around what they perceive as negative.
5. Build strong relationships with the people you manage.
This is very important. If you don’t have good relationships with your employees, how can you expect them to listen to you?
So, when thinking about growing/developing your employees, it’s important to make as many emotional deposits as you can in order to build a bank of trust. Providing positive feedback and naming things that people are doing well is one way to do that.
6. Feedback should be growth-producing and specific
This is something that I feel should be in the number 1 spot. It’s mind boggling how many workers feel under appreciated and overworked. So many people in the workforce are wondering if the grass is greener at another job and, more often than not, it is better. Feedback should never be negative. It’s meant to give the employee the ability to learn and grown!
7. Take advantage of training opportunities.
This is the time to try out some conflict resolution scenarios or other ideas you have had. Employees expect training at this time and are often very willing to learn new skills.