Conflict is a common part of almost any workplace, particularly small businesses. It’s not something to worry about – just make sure you manage it effectively so it doesn’t affect the service you offer.
If you’re struggling to do this, we’re here to help. Here are 4 tips to help you manage workplace conflict and prevent it from happening in the first place.
1. Address conflicts face to face
If you notice conflict in your business, try to solve it face to face whenever possible. Addressing issues over email can be tricky. This is because it’s hard to work out tone and there’s a risk that people might take your words the wrong way. Even talking about a problem over the phone can be difficult, as you can miss people’s body language which might suggest they feel something different to what they’re saying.
When you address conflicts face to face, try to pay attention to body language and other non-verbal cues to help you diffuse the situation. If you think you won’t be able to resolve the issue in one sitting, leave it a couple of days to let everyone cool off, then try again.
2. Adopt an understanding approach
Try to be understanding and empathetic when you’re addressing an issue. Remember that conflict often comes from a good place, with people simply disagreeing over how to make your product or service as good as possible.
Begin by trying to understand the root of the conflict. What’s caused the disagreement? Is it something that can be solved fairly quickly or needs longer to work through? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you work out the best approach to solving the conflict.
3. Set up processes
It’s really important to have some standard processes in place to help you manage workplace conflict. This will help you make sure that every conflict is managed consistently, and you can’t be accused of unfair treatment.
These processes don’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as saying you’ll start by listening to each point of view and take notes. Just make sure you have these written down and use them whenever workplace conflict arises.
4. Keep looking forward
When you’re addressing a conflict, try to focus on how to improve things rather than dwelling too much on what’s happened. By aiming to find a progress-based resolution, you’ll increase the chances of finding a solution that works for your business and everyone in it.
Ideally, try to align your solutions with business goals to keep everyone focused on easily identifiable objectives. This will help you make sure that the decisions you make all go towards improving your business.
Following all these tips should not only help you resolve workplace conflict but also help you avoid it in the first place. Conflict doesn’t have to be a big problem for your business as long as you take the right steps to address it.
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