Any workplace will have employees that don’t get along for a number of reasons. People have different opinions, personalities and lifestyles which causes clashes in the workplace that impacts everyone. Conflict can be great for problem-solving and corporate success, however, it can also cause more trouble than it’s worth.
Because employee conflict is inevitable, the only thing you can do is figure out the best methods of handling employee conflict.
1. Why conflict between employees can be good
Conflict between employees can be positive for a company because the clash of personalities is attributable to the fact that you have a diverse workforce. While it may feel uncomfortable and stressful when there is a disagreement between employees, it actually shows that people are putting forth their opinion of what they think is best which is causing conflict and will hopefully end in the best outcome by combining everyone’s ideas.
In addition, conflict among a team of employees indicates passion, unique communication tactics and diverse perceptions of problems. Sometimes the hardest part of a job is handling the people as opposed to the work. Aggregately, having a diverse team is not an issue because the company will do better overall, mostly it is frustrating and stressful on the individual level.
2. When employee conflict becomes an issue
While some conflict is great for a company, there are definitely scenarios when the conflict becomes so great it is problematic. If conflict between employees causes a valued employee to leave because they are miserable dealing with conflict or the conflict builds over time ending in a crisis, the company has an unhealthy employee conflict atmosphere.
Other issues can arise for companies with poor employee conflict resolution, it depends on your corporate culture and employee’s nature. If the conflict gets too overwhelming that it negatively impacts your corporate culture, you will need an experienced PR agency to rebuild your company’s reputation and trust again.
3. Handling conflicts between employees
The first step is to understand the nature of the conflict in an objective way. Some issues will be more serious than others, such as harassment or discrimination, make sure to get all the facts before acting.
Each employee involved in the disagreement will perceive the issue differently, make sure to understand this too. Try to listen to everyone’s opinion individually without taking sides. It will help you understand your fellow employees point of view and personalities better.
Its best to address issues quickly, otherwise they will build and cause bigger problems down the road. When issues are handled quickly, employees can move on and work harder. Also, if the standard is set to address issues immediately, it will create a healthy conflict resolution in your corporate culture.
Once the issue has been addressed, determine a solution together. Often issues are clouded by emotions resulting in actions motivated by aggravation and defensiveness. By talking through the problem everyone can say what they think, agree on a solution and move forward.
4. Preventing conflicts in the future
In corporate scenarios, people constantly refer to the notion of being a leader. Leadership can help prevent future issues both in the employer and employee roles.
Emphasis on communication among employees is key. Depending on one’s personality, communication can be easy or difficult. For those who struggle with communication, awareness is the starting point. From there, the employee can work on tactics to communicate better.
Anytime someone comes forward with an issue, take it seriously instead of brushing it off. It takes courage to bring forward an issue in the workplace because that individual’s reputation and career is at stake. They likely would not have come forward if it was not a big issue.
As a final thought, use leadership to promote respect in the workplace as much as you can. Conflict or not, respect of your fellow employees helps to prevent issues and resolve them better when they arise.