Conflict management in the workplace is not something to overlook–ever. While it can be easy to ignore tiffs and arguments among coworkers and everyone else who works in your office or another place of business, doing so is never recommended. Take a moment to review why conflict management is important to every workplace, no matter how big or small.
It Reduces Workplace Tension & Resentment
When workplace conflicts are not addressed as soon as possible, tension builds up. The coworkers in conflict might feel increasingly uncomfortable around each other because the issue between them hasn’t been resolved. As tension mounts, so does resentment. Employees resent that the problem has not been addressed by management, which can make them less and less interested in doing a good job. They might not even want to come to the office or other workplace because they do not want to see the employee they have an issue with, as well as the managers who aren’t doing anything about the problem. Other employees are likely to notice the tension and resentment as well and become increasingly uncomfortable. As a result, the entire office roster can dread coming to work every day, which does nothing for the overall work environment or your company’s reputation as a fantastic place to work. It usually does not take long for a business’s reputation to “get around,” and you certainly do not want yours associated with words such as “uncomfortable,” “tension-filled,” and “unpleasant.”
Conflict management in the workplace subsequently contributes to a more harmonious work environment because issues are mitigated efficiently before resentment and tension have the chance to fester. The entire workplace’s vibe will be extra positive as a result. Your business’s reputation will get a boost as well because word will spread that your company takes care of conflicts quickly instead of allowing them to fester and create various problems.
It Helps Employees Feel Respected & Cared About
When conflicts are ignored, it is typical for employees to feel disrespected. They might also feel as though management only cares about what they can get from them. Employees who feel this way are less likely to put serious effort into their jobs, which causes productivity to suffer. As productivity goes down, so can revenue. The company owner and senior partners start investigating what is wrong when these issues occur, which can result in unfavorable reviews. If the company-wide review becomes public, it (again) can have a negative impact on the business’s reputation. Keeping employees happy is increasingly important in light of mental health and related topics, so you do not want your business to become known for doing nothing for team members’ mental wellness.
By keeping up with conflict management in the workplace, you’ll sidestep these major problems and let team members know they are valued. Workers who feel respected and valued are almost always willing to do more each day and therefore contribute to the company’s excellent reputation and bottom line. Your workplace will become happier as well because employees are excited to go to work and do the best job they can. Your reviews on Glass Door and similar sites will also improve and the chances of attracting quality hires increases. After all, poor reviews can make potential hires run screaming from the room.
It Avoids Serious HR Issues
There are some instances when ignoring conflict in the workplace becomes a serious HR issue. Any problem involving harassment of any kind, racism, sexism, or religious intolerance is something to deal with immediately. Failing to do so is viewed as condoning the act or behavior, which makes the company look bad–very bad. By adhering to the company’s policies and tackling any sensitive issue quickly, you are demonstrating zero tolerance for such behavior. Employees feel heard and protected as a result and will have positive things to say about the company in the future. There are also no concerns about reputation damage that can take months or years to repair following bad press and scathing reviews by former employees. Attracting new hires will not be problematic either, because HR issues never get swept under the company rug. Most new hires read the reviews of former employees to know what to expect, so if yours are (mostly) glowing, you’ll be in excellent business shape.
If your company continues to grow and there is no formal HR department in place, consider creating one. A dedicated HR department deals with any issues efficiently and will create an ironclad policy regarding employee conduct, including exhaustive lists of intolerable behavior.
It Encourages Everyone to Be More Compassionate and Understanding
Conflict management in the workplace is invaluable because it reminds everyone on your team of their humanity. Everybody makes mistakes, say things they wish they could take back, and has bad days. Working through conflicts helps employees remember that “not everything is about them” and that miscommunications and misunderstandings are common, especially when it comes to emails and slack messages. People can take things in certain ways when others did not mean anything bad or insulting. This helps coworkers pause before reacting and possibly making inflammatory comments that hurt others’ feelings. Your team will likely be happier and more cheerful at work because they aren’t getting miffed for basically no reason. You might want to schedule routine conflict management seminars to encourage understanding and acceptance and to break down communication barriers.
It Reinforces Emotional Regulation
By taking time to pause before reacting, employees learn valuable emotional regulation lessons. Reacting is easy, after all! Taking time to breathe, remain calm, and focus on understanding and empathy is always the right course. Your team members will become more self-aware and perhaps more patient, particularly with those who have difficult personalities. Learning to remain calm and empathetic instead of reacting is a form of stress management that contributes to a more tranquil work environment.
It Improves Communication Skills
Employees and managers with training in conflict management typically improve their communication skills. They understand that communicating is not just about words, but also about tone, facial expressions, and body language. For example, a team member could say “yes” to a new task you assigned even though they are already overwhelmed for the week. Their body language is twitchy and their facial expression appears stressed and worried. Picking up on these and other nonverbal cues makes it clear that adding another assignment to the employee’s queue probably isn’t the best thing right now, even if they want to be a “team player” and say yes instead of “heck no!” Enhancing communication skills across the team board improves productivity, avoids miscommunication issues, and helps everyone stress less.
It Demonstrates Your Commitment to the Modern Company Model
Timely conflict management in the workplace makes it clear that your company does not adhere to outdated business practices. Instead, it shows that your business is a modern one dedicated to maintaining employee health and wellness and creating a vibrant, energetic, happy place to work. Conflict management is among the many ways to ensure your company remains firmly rooted in the 21st century instead of one that follows old-fashioned “business norms” that has no place in your industry or anyone else’s. With conflict management training and certifications available, there is really no reason to not have conflict protocols in place.
If your business has existed for decades and could use a “facelift” to show your dedication to modern business practices, you could always advertise your conflict management procedures in your social media posts and newsletters. This does not mean naming names or providing specific examples! It simply refers to mentioning that your business is committed to dealing with employee conflicts swiftly and that you want your employees to enjoy healthy mindsets as much as possible.
It Shows Off Your Dedication to a Healthy Work Environment
Effective, timely conflict management in the workplace makes it clear that you are dedicated to ensuring your team thrives. This helps your employees develop a deep appreciation for you and shows off your communication skills to upper management. Your emphasis on a healthy workplace can subsequently result in glowing team member reviews and a promotion that includes a salary raise and perhaps an extra bonus or two. There are virtually no downsides, as your work environment and your career will thrive. If you decide to earn your conflict resolution certificate, you can add it to your resume and impress future employers. Any employer who is serious about maintaining a wellness-minded workplace will love that you received your certificate and are committed to creating a healthy, productive atmosphere that makes employees love their jobs even more than they already do.
Learning about conflict management and how to best deal with it takes time, and that is perfectly okay! Consider it a learning experience you will utilize for the rest of your life, both professionally and personally. For more about conflict management in the workplace and related training for your team, get in touch with us today! We look forward to helping your company thrive!