6 Workplace Conflict Resolution Strategies – Create A Respectful Workplace

Respectful Workplaces – A Place To Be

Let’s start here: what is a respectful workplace? It’s a place where people feel good about going to everyday. It’s not absent of conflict or divergent opinions. But people know how to deal with conflict. Differences between people do not rise up to cause disruptive or destructive behavior. This kind of workplace is created by implementing workplace conflict resolution strategies.

The first thing to know is that everyone in the organization plays a role in your workplace alchemy. If the goal is to create a respectful workplace, you must consider how to deliver the conflict resolution tools and information across the board.

Conflict Resolution – It’s not just about policies

Many companies establish policies and procedures with the good intention of preventing workplace conflict or achieving some sort of  conflict resolution.  This is a great starting point but it’s far from a complete solution – if only human nature were so straight forward. It’s really the more subtle interactions between people every day that are the building blocks of your corporate culture. These interactions are far harder (perhaps impossible) to anticipate and write guidelines for. These are the grey areas of workplace interaction.

The other thing to remember about written rules: they don’t ensure compliance.

According to ProActive ReSolutions executive Dr. Stephen Hart, “In most companies, when negative behavior happens, people just don’t know how to address it. They are afraid of confrontation. They aren’t sure what their rights are as individuals, and they aren’t sure what words to choose.”

Hart says even when employees and managers do work up the nerve to address a negative situation and try to achieve some sort of conflict resolution, they often employ tactics that cause greater anxiety and misunderstanding. Without meaning to, people take actions that can feel like an attack, spinning the confronted individual into a state of denial and resentment.

“These kinds of issues are an almost daily occurrence inside of most large organizations, and smaller organizations are far from immune. Educating managers and employees to listen actively and speak constructively can help save millions of dollars, hours of productivity, and lots of headaches,” says Hart.

Six Tips to Achieve Workplace Conflict Resolutions

Here are six basic communications tactics to use when you’re coping with charged situations in your workplace:

  1. Don’t react in anger. Express your feelings in a clear and non-threatening way. Creating an open, receptive environment reduces the chances of escalating the conflict and increased the changes of coming to a conflict resolution.
  1. Be specific when describing the offending situation. But don’t state any assumptions about intention. This limits the odds of the person responding defensively.
  1. Explain how the situation has affected you. Often people don’t ask or even consider about how others are affected by their behavior, so addressing this directly can deliver true insight.
  1. Ask what they were thinking at the time of the offending action and how the situation makes them feel. Pay attention to nonverbal cues also. Aim for direct answers. Get clarification if needed. Understanding their point of view is the best way to learn how to work with them.
  1. Acknowledge your contribution to the situation. Accepting your share of the responsibility takes away the blame and establishes an even ground.
  1. Invite the other person to work with you to improve the situation. This takes the individual off the hot seat, and gives them the power to make a change for the better.

If you’re organization is considering a workplace conflict resolution strategy for your organization, contact ProActive ReSolutions for more information.

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