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Conflict is a part of life that a lot of people like to avoid, and those who don’t avoid it typically are not very good at resolving it. In a study by CPP global (2008), they found that 85 percent of employees at all levels of an organization experience conflict at some point during their career. Further, they state that in 2008, $359 billion dollars in paid hours were spent dealing with conflict in the workplace. Due to this large amount of time and money being spent on conflict, we should probably understand how to effectively handle it, so that it can be resolved quickly.
Consider the following scenario:
It’s Friday at 3:00 pm and your employee, Mike, has still not gotten you the final report that is due at 5:00 for one of your clients, so that you can do final edits before you send it off. This is not the first time that Mike has done this. You are fed up and decide to confront Mike. While walking to his office, you realize that you have two options: To use your power ranking and potentially anger Mike, or to work together to find the root of the issue and see what can be done. Although the first option is tempting, you realize that you need your employees on your side, and decide to be effective in your conflict management.
In order to do this, you:
See how our scenario plays out after following these steps:
You followed these steps and had a nice conversation with Mike, rather than a heated argument. Learned that Mike feels as though he has been given too much work in too little of a time. And you agree to take some off of his plate. Because you followed the four steps above of being constructive, identifying the root, understanding each other’s goals, and actively listening, you were able to successfully resolve the conflict.
YES! With visible reviews on places such as Glassdoor, Yelp, etc, your companies reputation and talent acquisition can be tarnished by ineffective internal employee conflict resolution. While you will not be able to avoid all bad employee reviews as you grow. By training your management and yourself in how to handle potential internal conflicts you can mitigate organizational risk and retain better talent. When we work with businesses with their online reputation management, the first thing we typically evaluate is internal processes that may have lead up to their situation. Bad press (PR) can happen and can be largely be out of your control. However, bad internal processes/ work environment are very much in a business owner’s control. We help fix your public image and make past mistakes less visible.
While this list is not extensive, it does provide great, simple conflict management skills that have been shown to work. It is important to remember that although you can never control the way that someone else acts during a conflict, you CAN control how you act and what you say. By practicing the above steps, you may have a better chance of having an overall constructive conflict and reducing the amount of time you spend dealing with these issues.
Our team’s marketing communications consultant, Kaitlyn, has studied communication for more than 6 years (She has her Masters in it). For more information on conflict/resolution or other communication strategies, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or contact our team. After all, our mission is to make your business better!
Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Ivy, D. K. (2016). Communication principles for a lifetime (6th ed.). Pearson Education Inc.
Chastain, A. (2013, December 2). Use active listening skills to effectively deal with conflict. Retrieved from: msue.anr.msu.edu
CPP Global. (2008). Workplace conflict and how businesses can harness it to thrive. Retrieved from: https://shop.cpp.com
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