The result of conflict and stress is a lack of productivity, increased employee absenteeism, and eventually increased turnover.
Conflict is an unavoidable part of our organizations and workplaces. In fact, current research indicates that 85 percent of workers experience workplace conflict.
Of those workers, 31 percent feel stressed out during the day. The result of this conflict and stress is a lack of productivity, increased employee absenteeism, and eventually increased turnover.
How can American workers be happy and productive in their jobs when they are currently spending 2.8 hours every week dealing with conflict?
There is little doubt that workplace conflict is a major workplace issue that needs to be effectively addressed by organizational leaders.
Unfortunately, many current business leaders are not equipped with the experience and skills necessary to deal with the prevalence of conflict in their workplaces and organizations.
These leaders do not have the communication ability to facilitate the resolution of conflict. Many even suffer from communication apprehension when dealing with situations involving conflict. All of these factors lead to the inadequate resolution or avoidance of workplace conflict.
The worst thing a leader can do is avoid dealing with conflict. When conflict is avoided it is allowed to escalate and develop into other issues. Workplace conflict can be the root cause of a number of problems like absenteeism and turnover.
This is why any conflict needs to be quickly addressed and adequately resolved in order to maintain a positive work environment. The following five tips will help business leaders to more effectively deal with conflict in their workplaces:
1. Set Expectations for Acceptable Behavior
Do not just assume that employees will understand what is acceptable and what is not. It is never good to assume. They need a clear definition. For example, they need to understand that workplace bullying is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. This may seem obvious, yet only 28 percent of workers who experience bullying at work take any action against it.
Organizations are clearly failing in setting expectations for workplace bullying and following through with consequences once it occurs. This sends the wrong message and increases the chances of conflict occurring. It is important that very clear expectations of behavior are set and those standards are constantly reinforced.
2. Be Proactive
The biggest secret to conflict resolution is to prevent conflict from occurring in the first place. That is why setting clear expectations of acceptable behavior is so important. You should also attempt to seek out areas of potential conflict and intervene before any conflict ever occurs. This can stop conflict from arising in the first place. It also will most likely lessen the severity and length of any conflict that actually does occur. You should seek to understand the natural tensions that occur in your workplace and learn how they can best be minimized or eliminated.
For example, if you know that the marketing department does not interact well with the accounting department, that could potentially lead to conflict. A good leader will recognize this and take steps to build a positive relationship between the departments. Being proactive with conflict is always time and effort well spent.
3. Remember the WIIFM Factor
WIIFM stands for “What’s In It For Me.” This is a critical factor whenever a leader is dealing with employee conflict. WIIFM is really what employees tend to care about the most. They want to know how things affect them personally and what they have to lose or gain. This is also a key factor in their motivation.
When you clearly communicate benefits to employees there is less possibility of conflict. You will also be in a better position to resolve conflict when it arises. When you know what motivates your employees you will better understand the best tactics to help facilitate and resolve their conflicts.
Read the full article here.