How To Handle Workplace Conflict

Workplace Conflict

In an ideal world, the workplace would be filled with people who all get along and there are never any disagreements. Unfortunately in the real world there is always going to be conflict in the workplace, whether it is intentional or not.

The problem with workplace conflict is that it can often be awkward or hard to handle. Incidents such as disagreements between employees are likely to be resolved far easier than issues that are more generalised.

For instance, in the case of two employees who just simply do not like each other and do not get on, the solution can be to simply sit them apart from each other and ensure minimal contact. In the case of disillusioned employees though, it can be a little harder to resolve.

What Could Be The Cause of Conflict?

As we just stated, there can be multiple causes of conflict that need to be resolved quickly. It is something that is likely to be experienced by many employees during their work life, in fact a study by CPP found that up to 85% of employees at all levels have experienced conflict in the workplace to some degree.

Simple issues can be that two employees (or more) simply don’t get along with each other; a more severe issue might be that an employee is being bullied by others. This can obviously lead to conflict but can also end up affecting the bullied employee’s mental health, resulting in an unwillingness to work or even come into the office.

Another aspect could be if an employee feels that they are being treated unfairly compared to others, this could lead to simmering resentment and could potentially cause problems in the long term. A huge problem could be that an employee, or even a group of employees, considers their manager to be aggressive, bad tempered or simply inefficiently trained. After all, no one wants to work for someone who doesn’t appear to know what they’re doing.

What Can Be Done To Resolve It?

There are many ways that can be used to help resolve conflict in the workplace, but the number one solution is that it should be resolved as quickly as possible. Allowing something to simmer for a long period of time can mean it is harder for an employee to let their anger or resentment go, and it can also just simply be harder to resolve.

A simple solution may be to ensure that there is openness around the workplace that will encourage employees to speak up when they are unhappy. Taking their feelings and opinions into serious consideration will ensure that they always feel that they can speak up, reducing the chances of conflict setting in.

It is important when listening to employees to not ridicule them or pass off their comments as nothing major. It may not seem important to you, but at the end of the day you are not your employee and what seems trivial to you may be serious and at the extreme end could result in them resigning.

If the conflict is something that involves you then ensure that they have the opportunity to speak to a neutral third party who you know will deal with them adequately. Employees should always have the opportunity to feel comfortable when making a complaint or grievance.

Another crucial aspect is that an employee should always be able to feel they can give their opinion or feelings without the risk of retribution. If an employee feels that by speaking up they will face consequences then they are not likely to speak up at all, and the issue will remain bubbling under the surface.

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Sarah Jubb
Sarah Jubb

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