Everyone faces conflict situations at work. Sometimes a healthy conflict is beneficial, leads to discussions, and opens up new ways to solve problems. But there are situations when conflicts negatively affect productivity and engagement, which generally harms the work of the team and the effectiveness of the entire company (Abdul Aziz et al., 2021). Constructive conflict resolution between employees can lead to healthy competition, process improvement, innovation, and increased creativity.
Negative Consequences of Uncontrolled Conflicts in the Workplace
In addition, negative consequences also include an increase in emotionality and irrationality, hostility and aggressive behavior, distrust of management and others; weakening of opportunities for communication and cooperation with opponents in the future; the distraction of the conflict participants from solving the organization’s tasks and the useless waste of their strength, energy, resources, and time to fight each other.
Positive Measures to Resolve Conflicts in the Workplace
Conflicts must be resolved to avoid their detrimental impact on the working environment and the efficiency of the enterprise. Managers should encourage employees to sort things out unassisted since taking the position of one of the disputing employees can aggravate the situation (Abdul Aziz et al., 2021). Motivating the team to solve problems independently does not mean that management will not need assistance. If necessary, the manager can provide recommendations or topics for conversation to help each employee overcome the situation with minimal emotional costs.
Quick Response and Listening to Both Sides
If the manager intervened, you should not perceive the situation as told. First, it is necessary to listen to the opinions of both sides personally and, based on this, make a decision on how events can develop. For successful conflict resolution, it is essential that the company trains managers in methods of dealing with conflict behavior (Chen et al., 2020). Poorly trained managers can worsen the situation, which will lead to the dismissal of employees and even increase staff turnover.
Identifying the real problem and finding a solution
By the time the problem is brought to the attention of the manager, quarreling employees can already move on to conflicting behavior (Chen et al., 2020). To get beyond this emotional wall, the manager must ask each employee to formulate the problem calmly. To understand the essence of the matter to find an effective solution that will help avoid such incidents. It may also be helpful to give employees involved in the situation time to cool down before they work together again.
Managers should set an example for their employees
The best way to minimize harmful conflicts is to create the right atmosphere in the company and regularly work with teams and employees separately. In addition, it is imperative to hold one-on-one meetings to understand employees and notice in time better if something goes wrong (Chen et al., 2020). If each employee knows that the HR department and management are ready to support them in a challenging work situation, they will be more involved, and cases of conflicting behavior will occur less often.
Independent Resolution of Conflict Situations by Employees
Employees should strive to resolve any conflicts that arise independently. Several rules must be followed to prevent possible disputes or fix them as soon as possible. Thus, before entering into a conflict at work, an employee needs to think about how to deal with the situation, experiencing and causing a minimum of unpleasant emotions. It is imperative to pay attention to the speed and volume of speech. The faster the speech, the less thought there is in it, and the higher the probability that something irreparable will be said (Abdul Aziz et al., 2021). Turning the conversation into a constructive channel is necessary, leaving provocations and insults out of attention.
Training Programs and Processes for Effective Conflict Resolution
In addition to the root cause of the conflict, its intensity and the damage caused are influenced by certain factors present in the conflict environment. It is essential that the causes of the conflict are identified, brainstorming is conducted, solutions are found, and then they should be applied to the existing conflict. Competent employees will also draw conclusions from the situation and, in the future, will make efforts to prevent the recurrence of the problem.
Proposal for the Development of Communication Skills in a Team
For employees to acquire trusting relationships between each other and managers, they must hold frequent conversations. Employees should not keep silent about what may lead to a conflict in the future. Establishing team interaction must start with establishing personal relationships between employees. People who feel like they are in a work team perform tasks better and harder (Smith et al., 2020). Managers can organize coffee breaks or joint lunches for a more significant effect. Honest and open communication without checks and tricks will help to establish mutual understanding and create warm and trusting relationships. It is better not to disclose some facts for ethical reasons, but employees should understand why they do not need to know this.
A competent manager is always interested in the atmosphere of the team, as the overall success depends on it. It is impossible to increase an individual’s emotional intelligence without their desire if they do not communicate well with people. Still, it is possible to do something for the whole team’s benefit. The manager needs to get to know their subordinates better, for example, by discussing the latest news or a funny joke that will cheer up the whole team. The manager should see how employees communicate and who works better with whom in a group (Smith et al., 2020). It is necessary to assign an essential task to a person and assign someone to help them quickly introduce a new employee to the team.
Proposal for the Development of Teamwork Skills
The ability to work in a team implies that a specialist has several qualities that allow them to interact effectively with colleagues and apply their abilities to achieve a common goal. Each employee needs to identify their strengths and weaknesses to understand the development of which aspects of teamwork should be given special attention (Chen et al., 2020). Feedback from colleagues will help significantly in this, as this is the most honest and unbiased opinion. It is necessary to practice the skill of teamwork every day because if workers leave it without attention, all training will not make sense.
Proposal for the Development of the Conflict Resolution Skill
The proposed strategies imply concessions to the opponent to prevent confrontation. The most desirable strategies are cooperation or compromise because they mean the most constructive behavior of both sides. Conversely, compromise means finding a solution that will satisfy both sides and help resolve the conflict, even at its very beginning (Smith et al., 2020). The ability to avoid conflicts is quite a complex skill. To master it, one needs to be able to carefully perceive the position of another person and carefully analyze other points of view.
Consequences of Conflict Situations in the Workplace
Conflicts at work do not always bring ambiguously negative consequences. On the one hand, they have a terrible effect on the productivity of individual employees and the entire team. There is a lot of turnover in conflict teams, so the company has to spend a lot of time and money to train new personnel constantly. On the other hand, some conflicts develop in the company. For example, in the course of a heated argument, some new, more optimal solution to the problem is suddenly born. Nevertheless, whatever the conflict situations, the manager and colleagues need to learn how to prevent them in time, behave correctly and never succumb to provocations.
It is imperative to train several skills in the workplace that will help avoid conflicts. For the most successful teamwork, managers should direct the training of employees to acquire communication skills, emotional intelligence, teamwork, and conflict resolution skills. If employees are regularly trained in these skills and communicate with each other and the management, they have the opportunity to avoid conflicts and be successful. This presentation outlines the most effective techniques that will help preserve peace in the team and increase the company’s efficiency due to the collective work of all employees.
Abdul Aziz, R., Noranee, S., Hassan, N., Hussein, R., & Jacob, G. (2021). The influence of leader power on interpersonal conflict in the workplace. Journal of International Business, Economics and Entrepreneurship, 6(1), 87-93.
Chen, Y., Zhang, F., Wang, Y., & Zheng, J. (2020). Work–Family conflict, emotional responses, workplace deviance, and well-being among construction professionals: A sequential mediation model. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(1), 6883.
Smith, N. & Fredricks-Lowman, I. (2020). Conflict in the workplace: A 10-year review of toxic leadership in higher education. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 23(5), 538-551.