How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace

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As a manager, you will handle hundreds of workplace disputes throughout your career. Although this is an undesirable part of your job, it is sometimes unavoidable. The important thing that you have to take from this experience is how to properly handle a workplace dispute, without causing any additional tension.

As a leader, it's important to understand the complexity of workplace conflict, as your employees will be feeling a mixture of emotions. Anger will be the easiest to spot, but your employees may also be feeling upset and vulnerable. Each emotion and the severity of the dispute merits a different response. 

Positivity:

The nature of a work environment warrants a disagreement from time to time. The close proximity of a workspace can be the perfect breeding place for disagreement and contempt. Because of this, it's important to create a less claustrophobic working environment and a collaborative atmosphere, as this allows your employees to voice their opinions and share their ideas, instead of feeling that they are not being listened to. 

If an argument does arise, it's important to be impartial and to look at both sides of the argument. Making assumptions and quick judgements can often make a situation much worse.Once you have come to a conclusion, it's important to handle this situation with respect, in a non-aggressive manner, with feedback as opposed to regulation. 

If, after all of this, the employee does not accept your final verdict, it's important to monitor the individual's attitude, as this could be a red flag. If an individual is creating workplace disruptions and disputes, then this needs to be handled in the utmost severity. One person holds the ability to change the course of the world forever. 

The right resolution:

In order to maintain the respect of your employees, it's important to make quick and final decisions when it comes to a workplace dispute. The longer the conflict goes on, the less handle you will have over the situation, which is never a good place to get to. Although it's important to resolve disputes quickly, it's imperative that you make the correct decision! Failing to make a well thought out decision and resolution can again aggravate the situation and could mean that you lose the respect of your business. 

Keeping the workplace and personal life separate:

It's common for workplace friendships to occur outside the workplace. Maybe a friendship will occur at a social event, or in during a team building day. Just as friendships can be made, disputes can happen just as easily and can have much more severe ramifications. Considering issues that have occurred outside of the workplace can really help you to get to the bottom of the dispute, which will help you to find a quicker resolution. Finding a resolution can be as simple as allowing a person to switch teams, to move desks, or to have a workplace one-on-one session.

Further steps:

As a manager, it's your responsibility to ensure that your employees are happy and that they are being productive. Any workplace disputes can disrupt the whole team. in some instances, employees will continue to disrespect other employees, which can become an issue. Institutionalised bullying is unacceptable by any measure, so if this behaviour continues to arise, then it's important to issue an official warning, and it may even be time to discuss the employees future with the company. 

Bio: Alice Porter is a business writer, who works closely with a dispute resolution lawyers to inform business owners and employees on how to create a fairer work environment.  

 

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