Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable sometimes, employees can be under stress in the workplace or at home and it’s handled in the wrong way. To take control of the situation a manager needs to acknowledge both parties involved and deal with the issue professionally. Acknowledging the situation can be difficult though, anger isn’t the only emotion that occurs, some members of staff may choose to contain their emotions unhealthily which can include sadness and confusion. Employees being treated poorly can lead to low productivity, poor attendance and feel uncomfortable going to work.
A manager can never ignore these issues however subtle, at some point they will blow out of control if feelings are held in for long enough. Here is a guide to dealing with conflict in the workplace so employment solicitors aren’t required and employees don’t end up leaving the business.
Most work environments will have the occasional disagreement, it shows passion for the job. As a manager creating a positive workplace is the first step to avoiding conflicts, staff will treat each with more respect and engage in disagreements in a more understanding way. When a conflict does ignite, a manager needs to look at both sides of the argument to show understanding and consideration on both sides. After you have taken both views on board more respect will be shown by both parties because the issue wasn’t handled lightly and both points were assessed.
Some employees may not accept their opinion being dismissed and may feel like they have been treated unfairly. This can lead to negativity on the work floor and likely the conflict will begin again. Speaking to the individual on a one to one basis would be advised so you’re not showing them up in the office, discussing your reasoning should hopefully give them more acceptance to move on to more important tasks.
Correct Resolution is Key
A confident and decisive manager promotes confidence to the employees, but making incorrect rash decisions will lose the staffs respect and in future workplace issues, the manager’s opinion may be dismissed hastily. This will only create more conflict which will also involve a manager dealing authority issues from staff. When conflict occurs although a decision should be made in an appropriate timescale, taking the time to weigh up the options of arguments should be taken to ensure the right choice is made.
Professional vs Personal Conflict
It can be expected that colleagues become friends outside of work and their conflict may have also stemmed from outside of the workplace. Whilst confronting a conflict, asking about the issue outside of work can help with any problems that are making their way into the work day and affecting work morale and productivity. Showing genuine concern to staff can really help in resolving problems and help the staff resolve the matter with an unbiased third party guiding them.
Managing the Fault
During a conflict, there is most likely someone who is correct and someone who is at fault. The employee in the wrong needs to be spoken to but it needs to remain professional, the goal should never be to make someone feel worst or upset after an issue has occurred. Offering advice on how to approach the matter in future will help guide staff on being more professional in the future.
If a manager is ever at fault taking the responsibility is admirable, although employees may be annoyed for a short period it will encourage staff to do the same in future and encourage a more genuine productive environment.
Sadly, on some occasions managing conflict can be ignored by some members of staff and inappropriate behaviour needs to be escalated, an example would be workplace bullying there is only a certain amount of warning that can be given before human resources and disciplinary action needs to occur. At this point, hopefully, the employee in question will understand the severity of their conflict and chose to be professional in the future, if this isn’t the case it might be time to get into contact with an employment lawyer.
You can also consider improving your pre-employment screening process to help filter out potential employees that may have a negative impact on the current team.