It doesn’t matter where one is, or what one is doing, as long as there is a group of people, there is bound to be some conflict. From our families to our classmates, to our co-workers, tensions and arguments have followed us throughout all stages of our lives. As children, we had the constant guidance of adults to help us out when such a problem arises, but now, grown-up and expected to advise the younger generations, we might still face the same problem without having anyone to help us. Worry not, as there are many ways to prevent conflict in the workplace.
The first thing one should know about conflict is that it is often unavoidable. In a group project or a team of people, there is bound to be some tension and arguments. In a lot of these cases, such conflict would be ignored, and no action will be taken to solve the problem. However, much like many other problems, ignoring the elephant in the room wouldn’t help ease the situation, and could even adversely affect the condition and harm morale. Instead of avoiding conflict, one should alternatively be prepared for it and be able to handle the situation accordingly. To achieve that, one would need to be able to identify the leading causes of conflict in the workplace and be matured enough to resolve the problem without making the situation worse than it already is.
Among the more common causes of conflict in a workplace is the struggle for power. There are many cases in which mean-spirited employees would backstab and hide information from each other to get an advantage in their work and build a right image for themselves. It is understandable that employees could sometimes be competitive, be it for a promotion or to get a more significant bonus, and it must also be said that competition can be a substantial factor leading to growth and development of character. However, this should not be an excuse for dealing low blows to others as there are many ways to get a higher position without resorting to backstabbing or deceiving others. In these scenarios, it would be beneficial for employers to set their foot down on the very first day of work for the employees, and determine what behavior is not acceptable in the office, and what attributes are highly valued.
Another leading factor for conflict is relationship related disputes. These cases can primarily be attributed to the actions and interactions of co-workers that leave one or more parties feeling wounded or stressed out. For example, a hurtful, off-hand comment, a racist slur, or even comparing one’s salary to another could lead to strained work relations in the future. Also though personal relationships should not play a part in one’s workplace, it is still easy to get blinded by emotions and hike up the issue to a notch every time the two parties meet. In these cases, employers could try to gauge the self-awareness and emotional intelligence of their potential employees before hiring them. For instance, employees might be required to pass an EQ test before they are engaged, or they could be put through a strict selection process consisting of several activities before getting involved. These methods may narrow down possible employees considerably, but it would be well worth it in the end when there is less conflict in the workplace.
Methods To Prevent Workplace Conflict
There is a wide range of methods to solve conflicts at a workplace, and one of them is to ensure that employees have the tools necessary to resolve disputes. As an employer, it would be wise to hold conflict-related seminars or talks with all newly hired employees, to enlighten the employees on how to deal with these problems. It is crucial to stress how important it is to avoid accusatory tones and how to keep emotions in check. However, employers must also ensure that they can resolve conflict peacefully, as employees look up to them for guidance and take them as their role models.
Another way to resolve conflicts is to ensure an open environment in the office. Such a factor can help workers to be more willing to open up about their problems and discuss them, instead of running away from them. Besides that, the openness of employees could also improve the efficiency of work and increase productivity. To achieve this, employers must continuously stress on and adopt open communication themselves, besides even taking measures such as holding employee meetings every few weeks to give employees the chance to talk about any issue they may be facing now. The openness of employees may depend on the number of people there are in a meeting as people tend to be shy around more people. To counter this, employers could hold meetings according to different departments or according to the current work projects to decrease the number of people in a meeting.
In addition to that, it is also vital that workers can recognize the consequences of their actions. Besides being able to ensure maximum work efficiency and productivity, this trait will help avoid and also resolve a lot of work conflicts. The reason for this is because employees would be able to evaluate their words and actions before they commit to them and also survey the effect of their deeds on others. Employers must ensure that the employees possess this trait before they are hired, as a single negative conversation between employees can adversely affect the entire organization. Employees who can think further into the future are also assets to a company as a whole, as they can help achieve the company’s vision.
In conclusion, both employers and employees play an important part in resolving and avoiding conflict at the workplace. Employers must be selective with their employees, to minimize the possibility of conflict, whereas employees must be more self-aware and emotionally intelligent to resolve any disputes that may arise. All in all, conflicts are unavoidable, but there are many ways to prevent conflict in the workplace.
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