February 13, 2017

Reduce workplace conflict, and productivity will follow

Defusing workplace conflict gets companies back on track.

Defusing workplace conflict gets companies back on track.

Dealing with conflict in a workplace setting is a delicate but necessary element of keeping productivity high.
It’s inevitable that colleagues will disagree. However, the damaging effects of these conflicts are avoidable, provided managers know the right way to avert them. Letting issues linger or worsen over time can weaken a workplace on multiple levels, slowing teams’ progress and harming their ability to take care of even simple responsibilities.
Not only do unresolved conflicts cause short-term workflow disruptions, they tend to lead to bigger problems down the line. This is why ignoring issues and hoping they will go away is an unacceptable strategy. Managers who tackle conflict head-on to ensure it doesn’t take root can get their teams on the right track.
Resolve to improve
The beginning of a new year is a great time to consider workplace processes and determine which elements of the business are and aren’t running smoothly. Entrepreneur contributor Ric Kelly urged every employee to be wary of conflict in the year ahead, as it’s a major cause of wasted time during the workday. Managers wondering why their teams aren’t producing at acceptable levels may find they’ve been playing host to unresolved tensions or conflicts. Dealing with these issues could therefore make a great start to the new year.
Conflict between workers can be a surprising source of lost productivity, as the actual time spent on disagreements can be rather brief. However, the implications of an unresolved issue between employees – for example, failure to work together effectively or share information – can linger for months and damage the team’s competitiveness. Companies that take a proactive attitude toward resolving contentious situations avoid being surprised by them in the future.

Confront instead of suppressing

One of the tricky elements of dealing with workplace disagreements is that some potential resolution methods aren’t as useful as they seem. CFO contributor Alex Shootman noted that embracing the idea that it’s best to suppress or avoid every conflict in the office doesn’t really help organizations. This zero-tolerance attitude toward disagreements may just end up with workers not talking to one another, and such a siloed office culture is just as bad as one driven apart by arguments.
The important part of encouraging communication without sacrificing productivity lies in determining which conflicts are about pertinent business ideas and worth digging into. Shootman suggested that leaders should be well-versed in telling which disagreements are useful to the organization and which are “petty,” concerned with insecurity and employees tearing one another down. Defusing the latter kind of conflict is important, but so is handling the former in a formalized setting that will let the results guide the business in the future.
Making progress
Conflict resolution is a skill that can be learned. Workers at any level can acquire this talent and be better prepared to foster respectful exchanges of ideas in the workplace. Every step of the process, from determining when to intervene in a disagreement to determining a fruitful path forward, is important and contributes to a better office culture.
This is the kind of information imparted by the conflict resolution education offered by Mastery TCN. Check out the list of available courses to see how to keep your workplace on track, and if you are an employer looking to train your workforce, see if your current HR Cloud Service provider offers MasteryTCN courses or get a referral from us here.

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