Unresolved workplace conflict can result in low morale, absenteeism, poor work outcomes, formal complaints, stress claims, and resignations.
Workplace conflict is inevitable and can be positive leading to stronger relationships and teams, if it is well managed. Conflict is best addressed early rather than ignored as formal grievances and actionable claims can result if conflict is not addressed.
Studies have found that supervisors can spend up to 25% of their time resolving workplace disputes.
Preventative strategies are best!
What you can do:
- Focus sufficient time on developing team cohesion –focus equally on people matters as to task matters
- Ensure there is a clear team culture and that all staff contribute to it, or at least can describe it
- Model openness and respect in communication
- When an issue first comes up respond quickly with transparent common sense
- Keep on top of how individuals are feeling – have regular meetings if possible
- Establish and maintain clear professional boundaries and expected standards of behaviour, and have in place consequences for breaches
- Notice patterns in what seems to upset people – identify triggers and bring them out in the open
- Ensure each staff member knows what is expected of them. Be clear about job descriptions, responsibilities, and territories
- Encourage and support staff who could improve their interpersonal effectiveness with training in communication skills and emotional intelligence
- Recognize and praise accomplishment to increase employees sense of being appreciated. Have consistent performance review procedures that apply to everyone equally.