We are undoubtedly living in uncertain times; a new PM, a new King, and new ways of working, on top of an incoming cost-of-living crisis. Businesses and managers are having to adapt and change frequently in order to navigate this new landscape.
For some in the workplace change is welcomed, and they thrive from new challenges. For others, they like certainty and can be reluctant to come along on the journey of change. It’s no surprise that when managing any transformational change, there will be some level of conflict somewhere along the way.
Now don’t get me wrong, some conflict is healthy! No one wants to run a business where everyone agrees wholeheartedly with what you implement all of the time. Having a culture where questions and decisions are challenged is good, it allows for growth, diversity, and innovation to occur – all a sign of a healthy workplace culture.
It’s when things go a little off course and no one is listening to each other, frustration and animosity grow and that leads to a toxic environment. That’s when you need to have a toolkit in place to resolve things quickly and efficiently.
Here’s my 3 top tips to nip this in the bud:
What do you want to achieve? Knowing the outcome you want to achieve can help establish which route you can take to achieve it. Not all conflicts will end with all parties agreeing and that’s ok, it’s about finding a compromise to be able to move on. Your approach may differ based on things like the type of disagreement or the personalities involved.
Set boundaries. If you’re running a business, department, or team it’s always useful to have some boundaries and rules in place for how to approach conflicts within the team. Getting the team onboard from the beginning to build this framework can really help set good foundations in place for healthy working relationships. Fairness is one of the most common areas of conflict I’ve seen within teams and by setting boundaries and sticking to them can really help reduce this as an issue.
Be consistent. As I’ve touched upon above, having a fair process and being consistent to it is key to resolving issues quickly. This can include holding meetings in person to avoid miscommunication or misinterpretation which can happen over email or text. Stick to facts and try not to assign blame to either party, actively listen to all sides.
As I mentioned above, some level of conflict is healthy, it’s about learning to recognise when they shift and cause friction and have the measures in place to resolve them as quickly as possible.
What do you do to resolve conflict in your workplace?