Best Employee Problem-Solving and Productivity-Improving Approach
Conflict exists everywhere people live and work together, it is an unavoidable fact. While controversy is unavoidable, how it is handled speaks volumes about a person’s ability and an organization’s ideology.
Some managers are natural diplomats, while others struggle with dispute resolution and wind up creating unproductive and toxic organizations.
If you want to avoid falling into the latter category, here are some of the effective ways to resolve workplace conflicts and keep your staff high-performing, happy to work with one another, and confident that their enterprise will be there to help mediate problems and reach resolutions
1. Incentivize Prosocial Behaviour
It is nice to be able to conveniently and diplomatically solve workplace conflicts, but it is even better if you can avoid them altogether. Conflicts take time to address and resolve, which can be a drain on productivity.
One good way to avoid conflict is to create an environment in which it is easy for people to give and receive social capital from one another.
An employee reward and peer recognition program is great for this because it gives coworkers opportunities to build positive relationships with one another based on mutual respect and recognition before any bad blood or conflict has a chance to air.
2. Arbitration should be Used
The optimum condition is for a conflict to be settled by the parties themselves or with the assist of the management, but there are times when this is not likely to happen.
In the event of a deadlock, you can always rely on an arbitrator from another team to assist you to resolve a conflict.
This person should be objective and willing to look at both sides of the story objectively before making a conclusion.
You can also include dispute resolution in a contract that employees sign when they are engaged, requiring them to agree to and accept the outcome of an arbitral tribunal.
3. Allowing Conflicts to Fester is a Bad Idea
If you sense something is simmering on your team or that it has reached a vapor pressure, the best thing you can do is respond quickly.
If you let a problem linger, it’s conceivable that it’ll escalate to the point where arbitration or even HR intervention is necessary, which isn’t ideal for anyone.
Employees should be informed that in order for the company to consider the argument ended, a solution must be reached that is appropriate to both sides.
Not only does letting a conflict spiral have a negative effect on those involved, but it creates an unpleasant working environment for everyone around the two parties.
It might even end up affecting team productivity as people start looking for ways to avoid working with both of the conflicted parties at the same time in order to avoid awkwardness, which can result in inefficient and impractical working arrangements.
4. Be on the Company’s Side
If you, as a manager, are called into action and either adjudicate or assist in the conciliation of a problem, the best and most egalitarian position you can take, unless one of the parties is plainly in the wrong or is infringing corporate legislation and norms, is to take the firm’s side.
Having the company’s side means stopping taking one employee’s side over another, even if you like one person better than the other, because favoritism, even the perception of it, can be destructive to morale and thus productivity.
Taking the side of the company and your team allows you to frame your interests as neutral, and if you don’t have any other option, you might fall back on firm and HR policies.