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Conflict Resolution In The Workplace.

Published March 05, 2018 (last updated June 24, 2020) -

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Tips to de-escalate workplace conflict.

At some point in your workplace, you as an employer will need to tackle conflict head on. Whether the conflict is present between employees or yourself and an employee, understanding how best to de-escalate and solve the issue is key.

Types of conflict:

Interpersonal – can be about anything under the sun, from a disorganised desk, personal matters, or someone stealing a sandwich from the office refrigerator.

Leadership –  clash of ideals in day to day management of the workplace.

Interdependence –  conflict when one person’s job or duties hinge on the completion of another’s

Work style differences – Everyone works differently. Some work fast, some slow; when two or more work styles clash.

When conflict occurs it:

  • has a negative impact on performance
  • wastes management time
  • costs money (lost working days)

5 tips employers can follow to de-escalate conflict.

1. Listen to all points of view and find the facts

Speak to each person involved independently and privately. Use these meetings to understand concerns and the underlying reason for the conflict.

2. Work with the employee to solve the problem

Invite the employee to share their thoughts on how the conflict should be resolved. More often than not, they will have a solution in mind that they would be happy to implement.

3. Is the conflict bullying or harassment?

Whilst most workplace conflicts are a result of misunderstanding or personality clashes, some conflicts may be far more serious. Everyone has a right to not be bullied or harassed at work, and there are anti-bullying laws which prohibit this.

4. Work to build a united team

Team building days or activities can promote a feeling of unity within your team, and bring your staff members together. This will give your staff the opportunity to learn more about each other’s personalities

5. Find a way forward, not establishing fault

Making character attacks is one of the quickest ways to destroy any relationship. Resolve conflict with practical steps forward rather than escalating it and making it worse

For small businesses without HR departments, mediation may prove an effective solution for an ugly dispute. The process involves an independent mediator helping two or more parties come to a mutual understanding as to how they can work better in the future. Contact Employsure on 1300 651 415 to find out more, or book a Free Workplace Check here.

About Employsure

Employsure is Australia’s largest workplace relations specialists. We take the complexity out of workplace laws to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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