Workplace Conflict: Your First Steps to a Resolution

workplace conflictWorkplace conflict is a messy and undesirable situation; it’s also inevitable in any large office. Nobody wants to deal with a conflict, and certainly not if they struggle with their job as it is. On top of it all, 60% of employees are never given the opportunity to receive basic conflict management classes or communication training during their employment, making it more difficult to come to a resolution.

If you’re concerned about workplace conflict, whether as an employee or employer, here are some tips to help you approach these situations effectively.

It’s all about the listening

When it comes to communication, most people think it’s all about the words they use. In reality, effective communication is mostly about your ability to listen. In fact, listening is probably the single most important thing you can do when dealing with workplace disputes. Both employees and employers should embrace mindful listening in navigating employment disputes and workplace conflicts. Rather than callings employees into your office and rattling off one thing after another, or trying to talk over each other, practice active listening. That means hearing the other person out and addressing the topics at hand instead of letting emotions and tangential topics take over the conversation.

In addition, sometimes active listening is all that’s required to de-escalate a workplace conflict. Ideally, this should be done in a one-on-one setting. When you meet with the workers involved in a dispute, or if you are one of those workers, listen closely to the other person. Paraphrase what they’re saying without offering solutions or trying to argue with them. Often, people just want to feel heard, and you’ll be surprised at how many problems can be solved with active listening.

Talk without tension

If you wait to confront a coworker until things have escalated to a boiling point, no progress will be made. It’s important to handle your conflicts with civility, which can really only be done before a situation escalates too far. If tensions between two coworkers are already high, wait until things have cooled down a bit before trying to resolve the issue. Trying to approach the conflict while both parties are still heated will only make the matter worse.

Do away with the temper

As frustrating as a coworker might be, it will never be in your best interest to approach the problem with anger. You need to keep an open mind and positive outlook on the situation, and not go into the situation with a chip on your shoulder. Sometimes, this means waiting 24 hours to cool off. This is especially true if the conflict is primarily one-sided, where one coworker is unaware that they’re doing something that bothers the other. In this case, you shouldn’t expect a fight. Instead, talk to the coworker with an open mind. You might find that the issue gets resolved without much effort.

If the conflict continues, it may behoove all parties involved to seek out workplace mediation. Whether it’s employment issues between an employee and employer, or general workplace conflicts, seeking out mediation can be an effective way of tackling the issue.

Can’t seem to come to a resolution at the office? Contact us today to inquire about workplace mediation in Baltimore.