The Importance of Conflict Resolution in Your Workplace

BlogHR AdviceLeadership Development Posted: Tuesday 17th October 2017 by

Imagine going to work every day and facing a colleague who doesn’t respect you, or having to work with someone who was constantly undermining your decisions. Would it make getting up in the morning and heading off to work a motivating experience? Or, more likely, would you be tempted to take more sick days than normal, or worse, give up your job entirely

This is the everyday reality for thousands of Britain’s workers, made worse by senior managers who don’t understand how to resolve workplace conflict or those who simply let it slide hoping the situation might simply go away.

The importance of conflict resolution in your workplace should never be taken lightly. Managing conflict well can help find creative solutions to internal relationship issues, and can help to prevent environments that breed negativity, stress, demotivation and general employee unrest. As we know, these environments have higher absence rates, above average staff turnover, can turn whole departments against each other and lead to unhappy staff who are always on the lookout for something better.

With this in mind, here are our top tips for resolving conflict in your business.

Don’t fear it; embrace it

As a business leader, one of the worse things you can do is to ignore a conflict situation. Conflict will happen. Whenever a group of people with differing opinions come together in the same room, conflict is going to rear its ugly head.

By ignoring it, a weak leader will self-destruct and will sit by and watch as their teams pull each other apart until one or all of them walk out the door.

A strong leader will step in, without getting involved in the drama, without taking sides, and will resolve the conflict professionally and amicably, so that all parties feel valued and can be sent on their merry way to do what they are paid for – their jobs.

Show them the facts

This might seem like a no-brainer, but often employees involved in the conflict will not be aware of how their behaviour is affecting the wider business.

Call a meeting between the affected parties and focus solely on work issues, calmly bringing to their attention how internal politics or fighting is affecting their colleagues, customers, and job performance.

Make it clear that whilst disagreements over work issues can be resolved without further disruption for the benefit of the business, personality clashes and issues related to personal relationships outside of work are wholly unacceptable and unprofessional, and will not be tolerated in your workplace.

Get mediation

Sometimes, conflicts at work are just so entrenched that it becomes impossible to resolve them internally. At this point, investing in a third-party mediation or conflict resolution service becomes the only option.

By evaluating the risk to your business, a confident, trained workplace mediator will be able to work as an extension to your own team to diplomatically resolve your internal conflicts to avoid lengthy and costly disputes.

Once the conflict is resolved, enrolling your HR and leadership teams on workplace mediation training will support a better internal outcome for your business the next time conflict arises.

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