By Osayi Alile
A lot can be avoided if work place conflict is well managed. Besides loss of income from unhealthy rivalry and unproductivity, managers will be forced to share their time between resolving persistent disputes and executing business plans.
If the work environment is toxic, companies will incur preventable cost from staff turnover For instance, consider the cost of hiring and training new staff, which could be saved or invested in other important projects. Conflicts are bound to happen at work, but here are practical ways to effectively manage them:
Hire Right: Having technical skills, knowledge and experience is important. What is equally as important is hiring a candidate who has the right attitude in addition to sound work ethics. Skills can be trained and experience gained, however, the process of unlearning and relearning new attitudes is almost frustrating. When hiring new employees, while evaluating the right candidate in a logical manner is paramount, be sure to incorporate questions that assess their behavioral responses in certain situations. Look out for impressions that reveal complaints or answers that absolve responsibility. A candidate who lacks interpersonal skills will always have issues working with other people.
Look into your Corporate Culture: Does your corporate culture encourage bullying, harassment or violence? Is there a structure in place, which arrests such behaviors before it even begins? Can employees confidently report any form of abuse without being scared of an unfair judgment or of losing their jobs? Does management take these reports seriously? Do senior managers demonstrate respectful behaviors? Organizations should be very intentional as regards encouraging diversity, inclusion and tolerance in its work space. It’s one thing to promote a healthy working environment, yet the onus lies in ensuring full compliance.
Resolve issues immediately: When colleagues are having their melt downs, do not assume they will get over it. If left unattended, both parties will deeply resent each other and it will only be a matter of time before you are left with an overblown issue. Confront the issues right away by listening to both sides with the aim of understanding their point of views. Take advantage of common grounds and offer suggestions on how they can work through the task. Acknowledge grievances but give unbiased judgment. The goal is to provide a resolution that sits well with both parties.
Promote work life Balance: Your workers may be at variance too often because they are just stressed. Overworking, pressures, anxiety, fear, etc. are some stressors may lead to dysfunctional reactions. Encourage them to rest as much as they can. Also, emphasize the positives in their work and if you must, criticize the not too great ones constructively to get the best out of them. Doing this will boost self confidence, making them feel valued which is a great booster for more efficiency.
By hiring the right people, fixing the gaps within your corporate culture, resolving differences amicably while encouraging work life balance, managers can translate work place disputes to yield good results.