Workplace conflicts are inevitable. With so many different personalities crammed into one space day after day, there are bound to be issues–big and small–that arise. If you’re a manager, chances are you’ve spent some time solving problems between employees. In fact, most managers spend 10-26% of their time handling conflicts.
In most cases the issues are work-related, but sometimes it’s personal.
Regardless of the problem, there’s one thing that’s certain: if a conflict is ignored for too long, it can lead to larger issues and ultimately affect office morale.
So, what causes conflicts in the workplace and how do you resolve them?
Common Causes of Workplace Conflicts
Communication issues. Poor communication is perhaps the most common cause of conflicts in the workplace. Sometimes it’s a misunderstanding, other times it’s a failure to communicate at all.
Structural issues. Differences between two departments can lead to problems, particularly when either side is unwilling to compromise.
Personality differences. A clash in personalities can lead to conflict as well. This includes the way one person handles a situation or a difference in values.
Whatever the issue, it is essential for managers and supervisors to recognize the problem and work to resolve it as soon as possible.
How To Resolve Conflicts In The Workplace
1. Recognition of the problem
2. Exploration of underlying concerns
3. Create a mutually agreeable solution
“For this process to work,” Heitler explains, “participants need to stay collaborative, like they are sitting on the same side of the table facing the problem, never flipping into oppositional or hostile stances toward each other.”
3 Tips To Help Manage Conflicts
1. Wait until both parties are calm. Getting two people to try and resolve the problem while they’re still angry or upset is not effective. Let some time pass to keep tempers from flaring up.
2. Be an active listener. When you sit down with someone to solve a problem, listen to understand. Try and see it their way.
3. Stay focused on the problem, not the individuals involved. By focusing on the problem and not the individual, you will avoid a personality clash that might cause even more problems.