Workplace conflict is unavoidable. The more diverse a workplace is, the more input managers will get which might create different opinions across board. Many different opinions, if not manage effectively and wisely, will likely lead to workplace conflict. The problem is, managers tend to run away or neglect workplace conflicts; they even often prefer dealing with other workplace issues than to deal with conflicts. Managers and supervisors alike are also fearful of such warfare, often with their judgement clouded by personal interest rather than the greater good of the organisation.
For managers, workplace conflict is part of the leadership package they signed up for. They have to deal with this whether they like it or not. Almost every aspect of work within teams can be a source of conflict, including promotions, team management, tough projects, expectations, evaluations, salaries, recognitions, and even personalities. If managers and human resource management are to show the true effectiveness of their functions, then they should treat conflicts in the workplace fair and square. Here is how:
Conflicts will be easier to manage if it is first accepted as part of the job. Avoiding it will not make it go away. The good news is that there are proven ways on how conflicts can be resolved. Likewise, workers who truly value their work but are involved in a conflict will understand that they too need to shape up or else they might jeopardize their chances of professional growth in the company.
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The more managers avoid handling conflicts, the more they lose the respect of peers and workers. No matter how incapable managers sometimes feel in dealing with conflicts, they still must get involved to help work it out. The experience will inevitably gain wisdom and trust for managers among their workers.
Insubordination is one type of conflict that managers find it hard to deal with. In instances like this managers could be provoked to react in a negative way. The “hold your breath and count to 10” trick works wonders when they are pushed to the wall. Remember that it does not make you less of a man (or woman) if you do not choose to retaliate or bite the bullet, so to speak. Buy some time for your best next move by staying calm and collected.
As a manager, it is possible that some workers involved in a conflict are your personal favourites, and it is easy to get clouded on which to side on. Likewise, your position as a team manager or human resource manager might cause peers to pressure you on to which side you should favor. Stay level headed and know who you are – you are management. You hold the responsibility of being fair to any member of your organisation and to always uphold truth and high morale. Let no one pressure you to do anything other than the right thing.
Human resource management must allow this thought to resonate among workers in the organisation – constructive resolution is all that matters. What good is there in winning the battle but losing the war that have obviously created bigger conflict and affected more people in the process? Likewise, when this thought becomes part of the organisational culture workers will learn to arrest conflict long before it becomes a major issue.
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