You want your workplace team to run like a well-oiled machine—but when conflict rears its ugly head, your machine breaks down and your team stops working productively. For managers and HR professionals, then, resolving the conflict and moving back into a collaborative, efficient work environment is essential—but never easy!
I meet a lot of leaders who dread conflict resolution more than any other part of their work. I understand why—but here’s the thing: Conflict is bound to happen when you have passionate people working together under the same roof. And the sooner you come to terms with that, the better you’ll be able to arrive at a peaceful resolution.
What Every Manager Should Know About Conflict
With that said, consider a few basic truths about conflict in the workplace:
Conflict is inevitable. Again: It’s just something that’s going to happen. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t assign blame. Don’t fret that you have a bad work environment. Just understand that conflict happens—and deal with it.
Conflict is unavoidable. Or at least, it should be. You can try to turn a blind eye to conflict in your workspace, but then the underlying issues will fester; morale will plummet; and, most critically, your employees will lose respect for you.
Conflict is productive. Conflict is not always a bad thing. In fact, it’s often an important way for employees to work out their differences and arrive at a new level of understanding with one another. So long as you facilitate conflict in a way that’s solutions-driven and constructive, there’s no reason why conflict can’t result in some positive changes.
Conflict is volatile. Of course, keeping things solutions-driven and constructive is easier said than done, as conflict can cause everyone to get a little hot-headed—but as a manager or HR employee, you’ve got to stay above the fray. Remember: You’re management. You’re a leader. Your role is to facilitate, not to get sucked in.
Conflict is unwinnable. The point is not necessarily to determine who’s right and who’s wrong. Conflict resolution is about letting everyone feel heard, and then providing a sense of closure—a place from which everyone feels comfortable moving forward.
None of this is meant to suggest that conflict in the workplace is fun, or that there isn’t such a thing as too much of it—but when the occasional conflict arises, and you address it wisely, it can actually be a healthy thing for your team.
Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and is known as one of the most sought after team building experts in the United States and internationally.
He is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micro managing the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, Heineken, IBM, and Hewlett Packard.