Whenever a group of people spend time together repeatedly, tension is bound to build at some point.
When stress, tiredness and competition is added to that situation, as part of any working environment, the tension can overflow if not managed properly.
The truth is that conflict can be a positive thing if handled correctly.
It can bring to light prejudices, problems and issues that were causing problems to light and address them in a positive way.
However, in order for that to occur, managers need to learn conflict management strategies and teach them to their employees.
The Best 3 Conflict Management Strategies to Ease Tension in the Office
Stop the Blame Game
One of the most harmful tactics that people use during a conflict is the blame game. Even if some of the things may be true, when fingers are pointed, problems get out of hand.
To help your employees express themselves in a positive way, teach them to utilise “I” instead of “you” language.
Instead of saying “You are so rude,” it can be more helpful to say “I feel hurt by some of the things you say to me.”
Instead of “You are lazy,” saying “I would appreciate it if you can help me more with these tasks” might be better.
Oftentimes, simply switching perspective from the other person to yourself is all that is required to solve a conflict.
Focus on Solutions
One of the biggest hindrances to successful conflict resolution is the fact that people tend to focus on emotions rather than facts.
Solely dwelling on how we felt or feel and refusing to move on can cause a downward spiral into irreparable problems.
Prior to meeting with those involved in the conflict to discuss what transpired, ask each party to come up with solutions to resolve the conflict.
This will help them focus on the facts and resolutions versus how they feel about the situation.
Implement a Diversity Programme
It can help to offer tips for resolving conflict before it starts.
Many workplaces have had luck with implementing diversity programmes that teach colleagues to respect and appreciate each other’s differences rather than be offended by them.
For examples, cultural differences can lead to problems around areas such as personal space, respect, timeliness, gestures and words.
The ability to understand that these are cultural norms and not universal beliefs can really make a difference as to how employees see each other and help them communicate better!