Some research studies show that up to 42% of a manager’s time goes to resolving conflict in the workplace. Imagine how much could get done if even a fraction of that time was spent on improving business activities.
When you hire a management team that’s well versed in resolving conflict, you can save yourself time, money and a lot of workplace drama. Here are six tips for new managers on improving conflict resolution in the workplace.
Define cause of the complaint. When an employee, colleague or superior comes to you with a complaint, stop to consider the real cause of the conflict. What is the root of the problem? Once you figure out where the real problem lies, you can address it without getting distracted by other topics.
Depersonalize the conflict. Even when someone makes a complaint at or about you directly, take a moment to realize that it’s not about you, but rather a difference of opinion. If you can depersonalize the conflict, the chances of reaching common ground and resolution are much higher.
Focus on responding, not reacting. Most people’s first inclination when faced with a conflict is to become defensive, and react instinctively. The best managers know that the only effective way to resolve workplace issues is to respond and not react.
Be specific about your needs. Think about what you need out of the situation. Pleasing everyone else is not always the best solution. Consider what you need to be happy, as well as what everyone else needs and try to find common ground. Once you uncover what your needs are, be very specific about them so you don’t need to have the same conversation again.
Practice active listening. Once you’ve de-personalized the situation and expressed your needs, it’s time to be quiet and practice actively listening to what your colleagues needs are. It’s impossible to reach a resolution if you don’t stop to actually listen.
Use technology to your advantage. Certain workplace disputes can be avoided by using technology. For example, using a reputable time tracker and recording phone calls can help mitigate some potential conflicts. Platforms like TransparentBusiness are especially helpful in eliminating potential issues such as billing conflicts between employer and employee.
A spokesperson for Yandiki, an online platform that connects freelancers with companies looking for talent says, “It’s only when you stop to think through a conflict that you’re able to choose the best response to the situation. Reacting to conflict can bring about very detrimental results, especially in the workplace. It’s worth it to take the time and assess the situation, de-personalize it, and choose an appropriate solution. Active listening is also a key to successful conflict management” Yandiki was voted the ‘top people management solution’ by Citigroup in 2016, and offers companies a more transparent way to manage freelancers.