Workplace conflict happens in every organization. Whether it’s between coworkers, managers, or a boss and an employee, issues are bound to arise when so many different people – with different opinions – work together day in and day out. That being said, managers have an important responsibility to cultivate a civil, respectful workplace – an environment in which employees settle disputes in a constructive, cordial way.
Wiping Out Workplace ConflictWorkplace conflict can cause high employee turnover, poor productivity, stress and health costs. Because a healthy, productive workforce is best, there are some ways in which leaders can best manage workplace conflict and promote civility on the job:
- Create, communicate and enforce policies regarding civil behavior in the workplace.
- Provide continuous education and training on civility.
- Practice regular self-assessments.
- Increase accountability and transparency in the organization.
- Communicate a positive attitude toward implementing necessary changes.
- Change their perception of the problem. Help them see that not everything is a personal attack.
- Keep their cool. Remind them to always be aware of their emotions at work, and to never confront anyone when angry.
- Get along with others. Strategies include avoiding gossip, being polite and courteous, praising coworkers on jobs well done and not criticizing others.
A Leader’s ResponsibilitiesHow employees deal with conflict starts with their trust and respect in leadership. The following tips can help leaders proactively create a positive work culture and a team-oriented, conflict-free work environment:
- Set clear expectations of employee behavior standards.
- Lead by example: Treat employees, peers and superiors with respect.
- Never play favorites when dealing with employees.
- Praise employees in public on a job well done. Never point out an employee’s mistakes in front of others.
- Do not overreact to mistakes. Instead, help employees understand how they can improve.
If nothing helps deescalate a situation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) might be a good option for the employees involved in the conflict.