4 Tips for Avoiding Conflict in the Workplace

October 26, 2011

Occasional conflict in the workplace is a natural aspect of interacting with large groups of people for 40-hours week. However, this phenomenon can easily destroy corporate productivity, disrupt projects and leave a company looking bad to customers if there isn’t a system in place to effectively prevent it. We’ve all heard the horror stories of disgruntled employees who have gone overboard, generally over what probably started out as minor conflicts. Whatever the case may be with your organization, it’s time to take steps to prevent your company from being on the 5 o’clock news.

Dealing with and preventing workplace conflict is not a simple matter of having staff meetings or referees in every department. It requires putting a conflict resolution program in place to stop conflict before it becomes an undercurrent in the workplace. While this can be an unpleasant side of being a manager, prevention is always worth it for the benefit of the entire company.

Have an open door policy in the HR department. One of the best ways to prevent workplace conflict is to allow all levels of employees to speak confidentially about issues when they arise. By letting your staff know that you are a willing listener, they are more apt to come to you when there is a problem rather than letting it fester into something bigger.

Try conflict resolution training. Another solution to the growing problem of workplace conflict is providing tools for prevention. This comes in the form of awareness training, which can be done for both managers as well as employees. Provide a clear procedure for dealing with conflict if and when it does, to reduce the chance of it escalating.

Reduce workplace environmental clutter. Believe it or not, the environment in which people work can be detrimental to a happy workplace. An office where staff are practically climbing over each other and equipment is not exactly a pleasant place to work. Give your office a make-over and reduce any clutter from cubicles, hallways, break rooms and work spaces to cut down on conflicts.

Focus on team building activities. A reason why some workplace conflict arises is because of overzealous competition among peers. To reduce this issue, provide plenty of morale boosting activities designed to bring team members together to work on improving the office. Give teams the opportunity to do fun activities to blow off steam during difficult times.

Provide positive feedback and employee incentives. Employees who are regularly appreciated for their efforts generally have less to gripe about. Keep an eye on employee morale as a whole, and institute a positive feedback system to provide employees with a continual stream of good feelings. Encourage managers to provide adequate and fair employee incentives to all employees who go the extra mile.

Preventing workplace conflict should be an ongoing process that all upper management can control through a smart strategy and a commitment to a pleasant workplace. If you would like more advanced training in this area, Dale Carnegie offers an online “Managing Conflict in the Workplace” course to help you prevent this from happening in your organization, and prepare you for if it does.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Philadelphia and Allentown, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Philadelphia and Allentown. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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