While the recent presidential election may be over, the state of politics is still a common topic of conversation among coworkers. Differences of opinion can, at times, result in workplace conflict. Relationships can get strained while discussing controversial topics. Read on to learn about the different types of workplace conflict and strategies to help resolve it.
The workplace is comprised of a diverse group of employees with varying viewpoints on many subjects. While a diverse staff offers plenty of unique perspectives that can benefit your business, these varying viewpoints can also generate conflict. Work relationships and morale can be harmed as a result, and so can your business. A study on workplace conflict found that in 2008, U.S. employees spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict. This accumulated to nearly $359 billion in paid hours for the year.
Frustration between individuals or groups happens for many reasons, including:
- Diverse backgrounds and cultures
As a leader, there are steps you can take to resolve conflict and turn it into a growth experience for your team. There are also steps you can take to prevent conflict from occurring in the first place. Having clear, frequent communication and a well-functioning organizational structure are some of the best ways to prevent conflict from initially developing. Encourage employees to discuss issues and misunderstandings with their superiors before it reaches a tipping point. Clear definitions of professional roles, responsibilities, and reporting structures help to improve both communication and accountability.
If a conflict does arise, your employees will look to those in leadership roles to resolve it. It is important to create a safe, supportive environment to discuss the conflict with those involved. Be sure to monitor your own and others’ actions, being alert to any confrontational behaviors. You can begin by identifying common goals and interests, as well as standards for working through problems. Together, come up with clear solutions that all parties can commit to.
If conflicts cannot be resolved, it may be time to involve a Human Resources professional who is trained in conflict management. This is especially true if:
- Employees threaten to quit over the issue
- Respect among employees is lost and disagreements become personal
- The conflict affects organizational success
Conflict naturally occurs in any group of people. While it may initially feel tense, conflict has the potential to be a healthy experience for your employees if managed well. Encourage employees to debate and offer new perspectives, while moderating closely to ensure a healthy, respectful working environment.
Unishippers franchise owners are small- and mid-sized business owners just like you. From hiring, staying up to date on technology, managing your staff and more, we know that a lot goes in to growing your business. That’s why Unishippers provides helpful tips to keep your business in top shape, from shipping and beyond.