HR Management & Compliance

Dos and Don’ts of Resolving Conflict in the Workplace

Resolving conflict in the workplace is a skill that HR managers need to have because conflict will always arise. In this article, we’ll take a look at the reasons why conflict arises and some dos and don’ts for resolving conflict in the work place.

Conflict arises because employees:

  • Have different points of view.
  • Communicate to one another differently.
  • Spend large amounts of time together.
  • Depend on one another to “get the job done”.
  • Have established internal expectations of one another that are not communicated and then not met.

“It’s important that you understand that conflict is going to happen no matter what.” Kimberly A. Benjamin pointed out in a recent BLR webinar. That said, conflict does not always have to be negative. When employees are able to challenge one another’s ideas in a supportive environment, new ideas are generated and fostered.

In order to turn conflict from a negative to a positive, it is important to handle it promptly and effectively. Here are some do’s and don’ts to resolving conflict in the workplace.

Resolving Conflict in the Workplace: The “Do’s”

Do:

  • Understand that conflicts are inevitable.
  • Resolve to address conflict quickly and appropriately.
  • Focus on the problem.
  • Keep an open mind and be open to new solutions.
  • Acknowledge how other people are feeling during the process.
  • Listen actively.
  • Use HR to mediate conflicts that occur between supervisors and employees.
  • Encourage open communication.
  • Treat all employees and coworkers with respect and dignity.

Resolving Conflict in the Workplace: The “Don’ts”

Don’t:

  • Focus on personality traits that cannot be changed.
  • Interrupt others when they are speaking.
  • Attack individuals.
  • Disregard the feelings of others.
  • Avoid the conflict.
  • Allow emotions to take over the conversation.
  • Impose your own personal values or beliefs on the situation.
  • Always try to fix it yourself instead of evaluating the best method of resolution.

Some managers – including those in HR – often think that resolving conflict in the workplace should be left to the individuals involved, but this is not always true. Managers must learn to manage conflicts amongst their team members so that the business continues to run effectively and objectives are met. Getting involved can create a faster and sometimes more effective solution so that the conflict does not fester and get out of control.

For more information on the do’s and don’ts of resolving conflict in the workplace, order the webinar recording of “Keep the Peace at Work: Conflict Management Tactics for Supervisors and HR.” To register for a future webinar, visit http://store.blr.com/events/webinars.

Kimberly A. Benjamin, PHR, founded HR Strategies Plus LLC. Ms. Benjamin is also the executive director of A Purposed Transition, a non-profit organization designed to assist people in discovering their purpose through career and entrepreneurship exploration.

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