Dealing with workplace conflict

When you are the leader of a company, the ability to handle a workplace conflict or dispute (that is bound to happen no matter what) is extremely important. No matter what the issue – if someone’s performance is affecting a project, there are people in a dispute, etc. – it’s important that a manager is able to step in in a positive manner and get things solved.

The conversation that takes place after an issue is identified is extremely important because it determines how it will affect the culture of the company, the specific project and any future issues that arise (no pressure or anything), so when dealing with any company issues, try keeping these tips in mind:

Stay calm.
You starting to yell right off the bat isn’t going to help anything. If you’re stepping in to help deal with an issue, chances are there’s someone else who is already angry so voicing your frustrations is only going to worsen the situation. Take some time to calm and prepare yourself to deal with the situation, and then take action.

Put things into perspective.
Look for the common ground in the situation and try to find some agreement. No matter who the opposite parties are, try to find where they can both agree and start there. Or if the issue is just involving one person, try to put yourself in their shoes. By doing this, it will (hopefully) stop you from entering this situation with a closed mind.

Don’t diminish validity.
Language is very important when tackling any conflicts or disputes in the workplace. In order to stop things from getting personal, it’s important to be careful what you say right now. There shouldn’t be any accusatory language used … words like “irrational”, “wrong”, “fault”, etc. definitely wouldn’t go over well. Chances are they will immediately feel insulted, which will only make things worse.

Chances are, this entire issue is happening because someone needs to be heard … so give that person a chance to voice their concerns without interruption. By listening, you might even find out that there isn’t much of a conflict to be resulted, it’s just a complaint that they need to get out. No matter how simple or complicated, listening is the smart move either way.

Now, these tips might sound like the things you learned as a child, but it’s easy to forget these courtesies once you hit the workplace or jobsite. Just let this serve as a reminder that sometimes you have to go back to basics to get things solved.

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