People react to conflict in three general ways: they flee from it, they ignore it or they confront it. When people flee from conflict, this can sometimes be a drastic move because it could mean resigning from a job or asking to be reassigned. Sometimes people find the easiest way to cope with conflict is to ignore it but often, this just allows unresolved, long standing conflicts to result in hostility and low morale in the office. In the end, the only way to handle conflict in the workplace is to address it. This is not an easy thing to do but it remains the only real solution to a major concern when people work together.
Although taking active steps to resolve conflict is not an easy challenge to meet, it can be a very rewarding course of action. Sometimes settling conflict results in helping people in an office a better understand one another and consequently, they are able to work together better. Here are a few important steps to help you along the process of addressing conflict.
Some people will proudly say that there are no conflicts in their workplace and this might be true. However, in general, places of work where there is no conflict fall under two categories: 1) the people are indifferent to the work and to one another; 2) conflict is unexpressed and well hidden. Whenever people are truly involved in what they do, disagreement and conflict are likely to occur.
Conflict can actually be a healthy sign since it usually occurs when new ideas and changes are taking place. The important thing about conflict in the workplace is that it is bound to happen and trick is to make conflicts do not go on for years without being addressed.
To resolve conflicts successfully, it is important to address them actively as soon as possible. Sometimes managers and supervisors ignore conflict in the hope that it will blow over, but as a rule, this does not happen. On the contrary, conflicts tend to worsen over time. It is also tempting to try to smooth things over without going through the painful process of exposing hurts. However, this strategy seldom works and hostilities can actually escalate when people try to take this path.
When conflict has not yet escalated, dealing with it is simple because you just have to find out what’s wrong and find out what the facts are. When the conflict has not yet become complicated by time and issues that have a way of getting compounded, you simply have to ask the questions to get the answers you need. The rule when you try to find out what has really taken place and what people’s reactions are is simple: Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Sometimes conflict stems from miscommunication or wrong information. In order to handle it effectively, people need to have a chance to speak honestly from the point of view of what they heard, what they now and how they felt. This type of dialogue may or may not be possible. When the conflict has become hostile, there may be a need to engage a qualified mediator to make sure everything is handled well.
To resolve conflict, help the parties involved find a way to compromise. Sometimes this can be done by helping them see that it is for both their sakes that each has to give a little. Sometimes, people just need a graceful way to give in and sometimes, when people see that their needs are being addressed, they become more open to compromise.
When conflict has not yet escalated, dealing with it is simple because you just have to find out what’s wrong and find out what the facts are.