By Kiely Kuligowski for Business News Daily
Employees are bound to have disagreements from time to time. Whether it’s a misunderstanding over who did what, a clash of ideas or a tangle of personal relationships, conflict is inevitable in any workplace. But how you handle those conflicts can make a world of difference to your company’s success. There are several communication strategies employers, managers, human resources directors and employees can master to resolve workplace conflict successfully.
Here are five ways to resolve workplace conflict — and improve employee relationships — through better communication.
When a conflict arises among your team members, action should be taken quickly to resolve it. Instead of ignoring or avoiding conflict, accept it and work toward addressing it immediately.
“Not addressing the conflict until a later time allows resentments to simmer,” Nick Kamboj, CEO of Aston & James LLC told Business News Daily. It’s essential to address the issue immediately and transparently.
Erin Wortham, former director of talent at Headspring, agreed that fast resolution retains a sense of harmony in the workplace and advised leaders to encourage open dialogue during these discussions. Similarly, in their book The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook (Career Press, 2015), authors Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell said getting to the source of a problem involves honest conversations and a little detective work.
“Get good information by varying the types of questions you ask, such as open-ended questions, close-ended questions, fact-based questions or opinion-based questions,” Gamlem said.
Managing expectations — both in terms of what you expect from others and what they expect of you — is one of the most important things a team can do to facilitate better communication. Anything you or your colleagues need from each other should be clearly defined and expressed.
Miki Feldman Simon, executive coach and founder of IAmBackatWork, made it a point to have set expectations at her company from the start.
“I once worked with a company where people would often interrupt [each other],” she said. “I established a principle where [interruption] was not acceptable. Consistently applying this principle changed the communication habits within my company, making it possible for everyone to voice their opinion.”
Knowing what is expected of them can help employees feel more comfortable, thus preventing conflict-causing tension.
“If people don’t understand what the organization, their manager or their teammates expect, confusion and conflict can result,” said Mitchell. “Set expectations early, beginning with the job interview and again during the first days of employment.” For more, click here.