Places of work are usually made up of numerous personalities, all suited to different roles within the business, so it’s no surprise that different personality types don’t always see eye to eye. But there are several ways to create a conflict-free workplace and to provide a healthy, positive, and productive place for your employees.
“Given the amount of time we spend at work, our workplaces can often feel like being part of a big family and you only have to think about what often happens at family get-togethers to know conflict can arise,” says Asquith Workforce Managing Director Jillian Asquith.
“The main thing to remember when creating a conflict-free workplace is that families can resolve their issues because emotions like care and compassion are never far from the surface, even in the heat of the moment. Nurturing those same qualities in your employee interactions is also the key to creating a conflict-free workplace.”
Strategies to help create a conflict-free workplace
- Assess the situation calmly
When two people are not seeing eye to eye the best thing you can do is to remain neutral, even when the situation tries your own patience. By assessing the situation with calm and compassionate communication you can diffuse the situation and keep a clear head which will allow you to better assess the situation and understand the problem.
- Maintain established protocols
Hard and fast rules and protocols that all employees understand can help create a sense of fairness when conflict resolution is required. When everyone understands the frameworks that are in place for behaviour and workplace expectations it can not only limit conflict but also lead to a speedy resolution.
One thing that infuriates many people both at work and out of work is when they don’t feel heard. Sometimes simply listening and responding in a way that lets someone know they are being heard can diffuse much of the tension in a conflict-based situation. By listening to the problem and when the employee has finished, simply repeating your interpretation of the issue the person knows without a doubt that you have heard what they have to say. Even if the issue cannot be immediately resolved, the sense of being heard and valued will go a long way toward placating your upset employee/s.
- Provide mediation
When individuals or teams cannot see eye to eye providing a safe and inclusive space with a third-party mediator can be a good way to resolve conflict. If you can provide a neutral mediator to facilitate a calm and constructive conversation, as a company leader you can simply sit in and get a broad understanding of what needs to be resolved without becoming emotionally or directly involved in the dispute.
- Lead by Example
It will be hard for you to resolve conflict using the company’s existing protocols if you do not adhere to them yourself. Employees who respect their company leaders are more likely to compromise or be open to resolving conflict if they are in the presence of someone who they do not believe would behave or react with anger or high emotion.