It is impossible to go through life without conflict. As human beings we are all different, with differing values, perceptions and opinions. Conflict is inevitable especially in the workplace, where in addition to our different personalities and personal aspirations, we have to deal with the pressure of deadlines, office politics and often confusing and inconsistent communication from above.
Conflict in itself is not the problem. The problem is poor management of that conflict, especially when it leads to low morale, lower productvity and inappropriate behaviour on the part of the people involved.
Here are five actions that managers can take to avoid or minimise conflict:
- Intentionally build relationships with subordinates by meeting regularly on a one to one basis to ask them about current challenges and issues.
- Review job descriptions on a regular basis getting the employees input and opinion
- Hold training sessions on subjects such as conflict management, interpersonal communication and delegation to raise awareness and introduce basic tecniques.
- Develop written procedures for routine tasks and get the employees to write these procedures wherever possible, reviewing them regularly
- Have a suggestion box where employees can make suggestions anonymously. This encourages people to be open and honest.
As with most situations involving people, transparent and thorough communication is the key to avoiding a conflictive environment in the workplace. However, it goes without saying, effective communication is something that requires constant attention and dedication on the part of leaders and management