Conflict Management Tactics that Work in the Office

There will always be people who do not agree or do not get along in the office.  There will always be someone who tends to cause problems for everyone else.  Conflict in the workplace is inevitable at some point, but that doesn’t mean it has to affect the morale and productivity of the office. It is important to have intervention strategies in place in order to manage conflict when it occurs.  Ignoring the problem does not make it go away.  Rather, managers need to be prepared for these situations and take immediate action in order to maintain a healthy and productive working environment for everyone.

Define Acceptable Behavior

Employees need to have a clear understanding of their duties and what is expected of them.  There should be a clear framework that lays out specific expectations regarding team building, leadership development, collaboration, and job descriptions in order to avoid conflict in the workplace.  Make it publicly known exactly what will and will not be tolerated in the office.

Be Proactive

While it is impossible to prevent all conflict in the workplace, it is important to be proactive in seeking out areas of potential conflict.  By being proactive and intervening in situations that could turn into conflict you are minimizing the chances of major conflict arising.  Take time to identify and understand natural tensions in order to reduce the chance for conflict in the office.

Focus on the Problem, Not the Individual

Gather all of the information you can about the problem and work on the best solution for solving the problem.  Try to set aside any preconceived notions about the individual and keep your focus on the issue at hand.  Your team will respect you and be much more receptive to any criticism when they don’t feel like you are pointing the finger.

Encourage Open Communication

The ultimate goal of conflict resolution is to solve the problem.  Allow the involved parties to share their perspective and offer yours as well.  Act as a facilitator while still giving both parties the opportunity to express their viewpoint.  When you encourage communication, your team will feel comfortable coming to you when problems arise and you will have a better opportunity to resolve the issue at hand.

Be Decisive and Act Quickly

When a conflict arises, it is important to gather all of your information, talk to the parties involved, and take into account the circumstances.  Once you have done this you should act quickly and decisively.  Don’t allow the issue to fester and cause long-term problems.  If you ignore the issue for too long, you risk losing credibility and your team will become frustrated.  Remember to be firm but fair so that your employees know exactly where you stand.

Developing an effective method for conflict resolution is an essential part of building a productive business model.  While conflict is a normal part of any professional setting, the key is in how you choose to deal with it.  Have a plan in place and know how to handle these situations when they arise.  Not only will this help you to build a strong rapport with your coworkers, but they will respect your leadership and it will lead to a healthier and more productive work environment.