Conflicts in the workplace come in many shapes and sizes; the same goes for how leaders deal with them. Some managers like to sweep conflicts under the rug, while others face them head-on. Although letting things blow over may work for some in the short run, improving communication and dealing with the problem at the root is more effective in the long run.
Here are 5 tips for dealing with and preventing conflicts at work:
- Promote clear communication – Poor communication is a leading cause of work-related conflicts. Avoid dealing with issues via email. Opt to set up a face-to-face conversation or phone call. A chat in real-time helps you get your point across and prevents misinterpretation.
- Identify the root of the problem – When did the conflict start? What caused it? Was it from a failure to communicate a task clearly? You’ll have to address the issue at the root cause to prevent it from happening again with others.
- Define the urgency – Deal with the issue right away, especially if it affects other employees’ ability to do their work. If it is not a priority, be transparent and set a time in the nearby future to address it with your full attention. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem.
- Extend support – Let your team know that you’re available to clarify questions and do frequent check-ins to make sure they are on the right track. Some conflicts might require outside help, if that’s the case, reach out to higher-ups or open a ticket with a support team to resolve the issue.
- Self-reflect – Show humility and be understanding about where you agree or disagree. Try to lead by example and set a precedent for handling future conflicts.
When dealing with work-related conflicts, practice good communication, be respectful of others, and embrace the challenge. Conflict avoidance could produce downward productivity, low morale, or worse–so fix things before it’s too late!
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