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How to Effectively handle employee conflict

Guest Contributor

Camelia Petrus, Senior Consultant,  Organisational Well-being

Conflict is common in teams - whether they carry out their work from the office or their home office. 

While it may not seem too detrimental at low levels, research has found that serious conflict and toxic workplace culture can significantly impact productivity, confidence and motivation. It also leads to more absenteeism and higher rates of employee turnover.

Check out the 

Workplace Emotional Climate Survey

By determining the way employees feel, business owners and in particular the leaders in the organisation, can take immediate action to ensure identified gaps are resolved and areas of weakness are improved, as necessary.

We all know, no business is going to thrive if the team is upset, distracted, or avoiding work due to conflict, but it’s not completely unexpected, given friction and discord do occur when people work together.

It’s wise then, to be realistic about workplace conflict, and take a proactive approach to effectively managing and resolving conflict, and equipping every employee with conflict-management skills.

Not only will it ensure you meet your obligations to ensure the health and safety of your workers, it will help turn conflict into a constructive, energising force that makes for a better business.

Let’s have a look on how to best deal with conflict in a busy workplace:

Embrace it - instead of avoiding or shutting down conflict, good managers accept it as a natural part of human relations that can spark healthy debate, stimulate innovation, and increase engagement and trust.

Plan and get in early - Be ready for conflict so you can respond constructively to issues as they arise, resolve disagreements before they turn into full-blown disputes or tackle misconduct head-on.

Keep communication respectful - ask for and consider everyone’s opinions and focus on the issues rather than the people. Compromise can be a lot easier if no one feels like they’ve lost or won.

Train for it - employees who learn conflict-management skills are more comfortable and confident in handling differing views and concerns, more likely to positively resolve conflict, and experience less conflict overall. Get in touch, we can help.

Be compassionate - people want to be treated with respect and understanding, so look for mutually-acceptable outcomes. Working positively through problems can really bring the best out in your people.

Employees at every level of your organisation must know that at the heart of what they do is something relevant and meaningful that consistently anchors their daily attitudes and behaviours leading to increased performance and work satisfaction. An organisation’s core ideology is the sum of purpose, mission, vision and the carefully chosen core values which determine the “invisible rules” by which everyone is adjusting their attitudes and behaviour. 

The ways in which your business is conducted, how the workflow is managed, how people interact with each other, how authentic, inspiring and motivating the leaders are, how your customers are treated, all add up to an experience that represents who you are as an organisation. In short, your organisation’s culture is your core ideology in action.

High-performance businesses know how to both endure and thrive and one of the key components is a deeply held core purpose that creates a strong sense of identity and continuity throughout the organisation. Alignment happens when the company’s objectives and its employees’ motivations and actions are all pulling in the same direction.

Determine and experience the power of your organisation’s Core Purpose, your Vision and Mission and Core Values within your organisation.

Camelia graduated from Massey University Auckland in 2005 with a PGDip in Psychology majoring in I/O (work) psychology.

As a Senior Consultant she looks closely at the business and also at the people leading it.

She guides them towards new, more relevant and meaningful ways to grow their business and their relationships or to solve business challenges. 

Camelia Petrus, PGDip Work Psychology

Senior Consultant, Business Development

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