As much as we don’t like to admit it, conflict in the workplace is, in fact, more common than getting along with your colleagues. A staggering study shows how 85 percent of all people have to deal with conflict. This means almost all of them. Therefore, if you are a manager, you need to be aware of a set of conflict management strategies which will teach you how to handle dissensions in the workplace in a correct and ethical way.
1. Do Not Waste Time
When a conflictual situation arises in your office, one of the worst things you can do is wait. It doesn’t matter why you do it. Because you don’t have time to deal with it right now, because you are away or because you are hoping it will resolve itself or someone else will do it for you. This is a mistake. Resentment will fester and the conflict itself as well as what caused it will not simply disappear.
2. Always Be Objective
As a manager, you will always tend to prefer some employees over others secretly. It’s alright. It’s only natural. However, that cannot happen when it comes to conflict management strategies. Bring both parties together and allow them to air their grievances. Do not enable them to utter hurtful or mean words to each other. Be objective and judge the situation as if you didn’t know these people prior to the incident.
3. Show Empathy
In other words, when conflict happens try the old ‘walking in their shoes’ technique. It will help you essentially walk outside of yourself and see how the conflict looks like from the other person’s point of view. However, keep in mind that this trait does not come naturally to everyone. It’s one of the most important ones that you can possess. Unfortunately, if you don’t have it, you need to train yourself to acquire it.
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4. Take Things Personally
Not in the stricto sensu, though. It doesn’t mean that you need to start thinking everything is about you or that everyone has a problem with you. Quite the opposite, in fact. You should strive to stop being distant or adversary. Instead, try to view the people who are in conflict as people who have hopes and dreams, problems of their own that might have lead to them behaving thusly, families, trouble with money, and so on.
This way of looking at the matter at hand will lead you to see them as genuine people with problems and feelings just like you, instead of the inhuman opponent we generally see in the individuals we fight with. Don’t forget that everyone is currently struggling with something, even if you cannot see it.
Here are four conflict management strategies that will ensure a stress-free environment at your workplace. If you apply them, you will manage to craft win-win solutions to any conflict that might arise. However, remember that it is always better to prevent conflictual situations by keeping a friendly attitude in the workplace!