Whatever the position in the company, any worker might never can avoid work conflicts. Whether conflict when factory workers demand for increasing salary, a staff doesn’t get an enough appreciation for his work, or a personal difference between the workers. Workplace conflict is something happen anywhere anytime.
Avoiding the problem will only cause long-lasting effects that damage your good working environment. The worst is that the conflict can cost the company highly and let valuable workers quitting their jobs. Here, resolving and preventing workplace conflicts aren’t something that should do by personal, but collectively. So, let’s learn how to resolve workplace conflicts whether you are a leader or staff who is in the middle of that unclear situation.
DO NOT Do These Actions in Conflict Resolution
When you experience any kind of workplace conflict, there are several actions should be avoided, like in the following list.
- Do not avoid the conflict, embrace it!
Even in the deepest of your heart you wish the problem will go away when you try avoiding it, believe it or not, it won’t. Although you have been thought that the problem has calmed down when you do nothing, as soon as possible, it will always reappears whenever the trigger comes out again, such as disagreement, level of stress increasing, or misunderstanding. Well, this long-lasting problem and unresolved conflict is the worst. You certainly don’t want this problem to keep haunt you in the future, do you?
- Do not meet the people in conflict separately
If you are in the positions as a judge or mediator, you should avoid that action. Why? When you meet each side or each individual in conflict to hear their story separately, it is highly risk you will polarize to their position. Your opinion can get biased to one side. Each side has their own vested interest to justify their position, so their sole goal is to convince you to their merits. Except the situations don’t let you, it is better to arrange a meeting between both sides to hear their story.
- Don’t believe that the participants are the only people affected by the conflict
As you might feel it, a small conflict in the workplace will turn the whole working environment into negative atmosphere. Everyone in the office will be affected by the stress, particularly during the presence of the antagonists. In the worst situations, the employees take sides and they will be divided.
What You Should Do on Mediating Workplace Conflict?
Conflict resolution is somehow a challenging matter, however, there are several things you can do on how to resolve workplace conflicts.
- Acknowledging the problem
The very first thing you should keep in your mind is always acknowledging the problem and never avoiding it. As you are admitting the problem, you will try to find the resolution. Look at yourself and what is your position in the conflict. Are you a participant in the problem or you are someone who had the authority to resolve the conflict? Think about the factors causing the conflict and look how both perspectives view the problem.
- Focusing on the problem, not the personal
Of course, workplace conflicts happen between people. However, if it is not a personal matter, don’t make the conflict personal. You will likely continue to work with those people, so you need to focus on how the problem arises and the way to solve it. Since you can’t change the personality, you need to find resolution so those people can back to work without problem. Keep everything within the lens of work environment.
- Talking and mediating the conflict
The most important phase on how to resolve workplace conflicts is mediating the conflict by arranging a face-to-face meeting at a neutral place with both sides. Here, you need some steps and rules to run it by:
- Setting the ground rules for both sides that they need to treat each other with respect. So, they will put an effort to listen and try to understand others’ views.
- Allowing each side to describe their view of conflict by using “I” not “you” in their statement. Ask them to focus on describing the problems, not the people. You can also ask what their want to change after resolution.
- Asking participants to restate the statements for others.
- Next, summarizing the described-conflict based on both statements. Restating them again until you obtain agreement from all participants.
- It’s time for brainstorm solutions. If you are in the position as leader or mediator, you can give several options to be discussed in a positive manner.
- One by one ruling out any unworkable options that unaccepted by the participants. Then, summarizing all the workable possible options as later solutions. You can ask individual participant to do further analysis for each option to avoid bias.
- Always ensure that all parties have been agreed to go on next steps.
- In the end of the meeting, ask all participants to shake hands, apologize, and thank each other for their will to resolve the conflict.
Do You Need to Seek for Outside Help?
Although it is better to address the conflicts at a local level in your workplace, but if the situation doesn’t allow, you can sometimes seek for outside help, such as mediator or attorney. The situations when you need to look for expert help, including:
- Involving potential legal issues such as harassment, violation of human rights, and so on.
- HR department can’t provide proper assistance for conflict resolution.
- Potential of recurring issues
- The situation is getting worse followed by abusive and bullying situation.
- Toxic environment that require everyone to go offsite.
Workplace conflict is something inevitable since the workplace consists of human beings that come from different background and way of thinking. The only way on how to resolve workplace conflicts is by bringing the people together so they can know and gain more trust to each other. Conflict resolution also needs to be done in a positive manner without bias to avoid any recurring similar event with similar actors in the future.