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How to handle conflict in the workplace

Sometimes workplace conflict is inevitable, but avoid it getting out of hand by following these simple tips to dealing with it…

Workplace tension can be demoralising for any team, but when it boils over into all-out conflict it’s a challenge to navigate.

Make sure you’re well-prepared should the worst happen and follow these simple tips on how to handle conflict in the office.

Define acceptable behaviour
They say that prevention is better than a cure, so try and prevent any conflict breaking out amongst your team by making sure the boundaries of acceptable behaviour are clearly defined. Not only will this reinforce good behaviour, it will make it easier for you to judge whether an employee has stepped over the line.

Two angry businesspeople disputing

Pick your battles
It’s inevitable that in a workplace setting there will be people who simply don’t get on, it’s human nature. But as a boss it’s important to judge when you should get involved. If you avoid interfering in all conflicts between employees, you may regret it later if the situation spins out of hand. On the other hand, if you involve yourself in every single office argument, employees will think you’re overly intrusive. Pick your battles wisely.

Deal with it early
If you become aware of developing conflict in the office that you think needs to be dealt with, then it’s best to nip it in the bud as quickly as possible. If conflicts are ignored they can end up infecting the whole workplace and damaging the reputation of your company. Try and resolve any issues as soon as you feel it appropriate.

Encourage communication
Communication is key in any successful workplace, no more so than when dealing with conflict. If two or more of your staff members aren’t seeing eye to eye, set up a time and place where they can air their grievances with you and each other in a constructive environment. Don’t let any individual dominate conversation and remember to focus on the problem at hand without assigning blame or focusing on personal issues.

Play by the rules
If you have an employee handbook or code of conduct then make sure you review it before dealing with any conflict. Not only could they shed some light on how your company deals with issues, reading up on specific policies will mean that whatever your decision it will align with company policy. If your company has an HR department, it’s also a good idea to engage with them before dealing with any conflict to ensure you stick to company policy.

 

 

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