Workplace Conflict Resolution Tips and Strategies for Managers and HR Workplace conflict is one of the greatest causes of employee stress. Taking simple steps to resolve conflict immediately can prevent many workplace conflicts from escalating. Employee stress, and many related health complaints, as well as workers’ compensation and bullying claims, can be prevented by managers acting quickly to resolve issues between co-workers, or between themselves and co-workers.Following are some tips and strategies to help you resolve workplace conflict, if you are looking for Workplace Conflict Resolution Training by a Workplace Mediation Expert Click on the link.

Workplace Conflict Resolution Tips and Strategies

  1. Act immediately. Conflicts do not go away. Unresolved conflicts can lie dormant for days, weeks or months, only to explode on another occasion. Avoiding conflict is one of the main causes of claims being made against an organisation. Workers that make claims often feel that no one has listened or done anything to resolve the conflict. They feel they have no choice but to seek the help of professionals. Unresolved workplace conflicts can quickly impact on workplace climate or culture (in smaller organisations). Whole teams are quickly affected as conflict spreads and other employees become involved. Productivity, performance and workplace relationships are impacted quickly when conflict takes hold.
  2. Meet with people involved in the conflict separately. Get a clear understanding of the issues before you try to intervene. People often have very different perceptions of what has occurred. Understanding their perceptions will help you to focus on what is important to each person, and to find common ground.
  3. Perception is reality. Focus on what the people involved need and what’s important to them, not on trying to judge who is right or wrong. Often both people have contributed something to the situation. Judging who is right and wrong, and particularly commenting on these judgements, can escalate conflict quickly.
  4. Decide whether to mediate or to call in others to help. Once you have discussed the issues with all or both of the people involved, decide whether you will be able to mediate yourself or you will need the help of HR or external mediators. Managers often successfully resolve simple disputes involving two people that have only been alive for a few hours, days or weeks. Generally complex and long-standing issues involving a number of people are best left for experienced mediators to deal with. These kinds of workplace conflicts are often sensitive and require high-level skill to bring them to a resolution.
  5. Arrange the next stage as soon as possible. While it can be difficult to arrange meetings in busy work places ensure resolving the conflict is a top priority. Generally the longer the conflict goes on for, the harder it is to resolve.

How to Mediate / Resolve Workplace Conflict

(Workplace Conflict Resolution Tips and Strategies for Managers wishing to resolve basic workplace conflict)

  1. Meet with all of the people involved individually (as above). Based on your individual meetings you will now have a clearer picture of the key issues, what each person considers important and the common ground. These are the key ingredients to a successful mediation – satisfying each person’s needs (and much as possible) and bringing the people together, based on common ground.
  2. Arrange to meet with both (/all) people. Encourage each person to summarise their view, uninterrupted. This is essential as often people involved in conflict do not feel heard. Sometimes resolving workplace conflict is as easy as providing a forum for people to express their views.
  3. Pay careful attention to each person’s concerns. Sometimes people have shifted since your first meeting with them. Do not bring up issues that they decide are not important at the joint meeting. They may have changed their mind and this can create unnecessary conflict. Listen really carefully to all the issues so that you can ensure that all the concerns raised are addressed. Take notes if you and the people involved are comfortable with you doing so.
  4. Summarise the key issues once you have heard from all the people concerned. Ensure that you pay close and equal attention to everyone’s needs. Failing to do so may lead to others feeling that you are biased towards one person or another.
  5. Encourage the people involved to discuss options for resolution. Always try to get more than three options on the table so you don’t just have their positions.
  6. Reality test the options. Use “What if…” questions to help ensure that the proposed solutions are practical and will work back on the job.
  7. Negotiation. If people start freely negotiating at this stage, do not interrupt them. This is your chance to sit back and listen. If they get stuck at any stage try summarising what they have achieved so far and remind them of the agreements they have reached.
  8. Ensure everyone involved is satisfied before concluding the meeting. Check in with each person that they feel heard and have had their needs met to some extent. Explaining to people at the outset that resolution is often about meeting their most important needs, not all their needs, helps with setting up realistic expectations.

Mediation is a complex process involving high-level skill. Mediators use careful language to ensure that they do not add to highly sensitive situations. If you do not feel confident that you can successfully resolve the issues, call someone who can help you or advise you on where to get help to resolve your workplace conflict.

“Thanks again for yesterday. I was very pleased with the process and outcome, and I think your approach and manner was a significant factor in the progress that was made.”

If you would like more resources to help you and your organisation resolve conflict fill in your details on the home page and we will send you some more FREE resources.

If you would like to increase your staff’s workplace conflict resolution skills, contact us for a quote today.

Mindful Mediation specialises in workplace conflict resolution. Call 1300 MINDFUL (646 338) for fast, effective and durable workplace conflict resolution.