No matter how hard we try, some form of conflict will always exist in an organization. Conflict becomes a problem when it is not dealt with in a thorough and timely manner. There are a number of ways proactively to manage and mitigate conflict in the workplace.
1. No employee should have more than one manager
When two or more managers directing the activities of one employee, that employee will inevitably experience conflicting demands for their time. Learn how to reduce conflicting demands in 3 guiding principles to effective organizational design.
2. Maintain open communication
Develop a culture that promotes dialogue. Employees must feel free to approach their managers with ideas and receive constructive feedback.
3. Keep employees informed
Keep your employees up-to-date with your company’s progress and plans. Uncertainty about the future reduces a sense of purpose in the present.
4. Involved employees in decision-making when they will be affected
Ask your employees for their opinions on issues that will affect them. Make sure to fully communicate expectations, especially if you have to make decisions that are different from their opinions.
5. Avoid paternal management styles
Domineering and overly controlling management styles have a detrimental effect on the free flow of communication and the feeling of empowerment and responsibility of employees.
6. Develop a conflict resolution management plan
Despite your best efforts, conflict issues will arise that cannot be resolved or defused on their own. It is important to have a procedure in place to ensure that common ground can be found so that progress does not come to a grinding halt.
The long term solution for workplace conflict is to head problems off before they happen
Actively resolving conflict is a natural part of a healthy business. It is when conflicts are allowed to build up that serious problems can ensue. Take a look at your business and see where moving your company toward a strategic objective could cause conflict amongst your employees.