HUMAN RESOURCES / DEC. 10, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How to Avoid Conflicts at Work

Conflicts in the workplace can become bigger problems that negatively impact production and the general atmosphere of the company. Tim Scudder is the CEO of Persona Strengths USA which is a conflict resolution consulting company. According to Mr. Scudder, “People who don’t like each other who are having difficulty and are in conflict with each other typically aren’t talking to each other.” Basically speaking, these individuals are not proactively sharing information with each other and not effectively collaborating. Mr. Scudder calls this the “Silo Effect” where people are solving problems for themselves while not making any effort to solve bigger problems that affect the entire team. This article will address several steps to avoid conflicts in the workplace.

Mr. Scudder’s “Silo Effect” example can be extremely useful to management or an individual employee who wishes to find proactive ways to avoid conflicts in the workplace. There are three main factors that can be utilized in the workplace environment to ensure that conflicts are avoided. Those factors: respect, teamwork and communication are discussed below.

1. Cultivate a Culture of Respect

This idea of respecting others regardless of ethnic background, experience and skillset, needs to be implemented by management and diligently followed. As management exemplifies the proper workplace etiquette with regard to respecting others, the likelihood of employees following suit is increased. However, individual employees can also make a direct impact on the workplace environment by making a diligent effort to respect everyone in the office. It is important to respect each person that you come in contact with every day, regardless of whether this individual is in management, the President of the company or a new hire working in the mail room. When we all learn how to take this factor seriously and respect everyone, many conflicts in the workplace will be avoided.

2. Foster a Spirit of Teamwork

Additionally, management could see positive results in increased production and healthy workplace relationships if they made every effort to foster a spirit of teamwork. In fostering that teamwork and cultivating an effort to involve employees in decision making processes, less conflicts will occur. Management can utilize a suggestion box and also encourage managers to seek out creative ideas from employees under their supervision. As an individual employee, you can also seek ways to foster that spirit of teamwork amongst your colleagues and fellow team members. When everyone is encouraged to participate, according to their skillset and knowledge, it makes for a better workplace environment—which, in turn decreases the chance of conflicts occurring.

3. Open the Lines of Communication

The third factor is to open the lines of communciation. This first pertains to those in management who need to foster positive and effective communication among their employees. If an employee doesn’t feel that he or she can go to a supervisor and express concerns, suggestions and issues, then conflicts may arise. As an individual employee, it is also vital that you learn how to properly communicate with your supervisors and fellow employees. If you are constantly reacting to situations rather than responding to them, you increase the chances of conflicts arising. Effective communication begins with first learning how to become an active listener. Then you need to be cognizant of actually following through with proper communication techniques.

Whether you are in management or an individual employee at a company, it is vital that you learn specific ways as detailed in this article that will help you to avoid conflicts at work. It is important to cultivate a culture or respect for everyone in the workplace. Fostering a spirit of unity and teamwork will aid in increasing productivity and lessening conflicts. Keeping the lines of communication open is another vital factor toward avoiding conflicts at work.

 

 

Photo Credit: sackedinthecity.co.uk   

 

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