Conflict is a harsh reality of the workplace. It is estimated that managers spend up to 25% of their time on conflict resolution. This can have a huge impact on productivity and workplace morale, which ends up costing organizations every year.
Of course, some conflicts are worse than others. In fact, small disagreements can lead to healthy debate, and result in an improved final work product and better understanding between the individuals involved. However, more complex issues can have long-lasting impacts on company culture and employee relations.
Most experts agree that there are generally five ways that individuals deal with conflict in the office. (Hint: some ways are better than others when it comes to dealing with conflict.)
Avoidance: In this type of situation, managers, team leaders, and employees will just ignore that any sort of problem actually exists. This can be the best tactic if the conflict is really small or is unlikely to affect anything. Essentially, you have to pick your battles – and it just may not be worth it. However, if there is an open argument between colleagues, ignoring it could choose employees to take sides or start looking for other jobs.
Accommodation: This is probably the best course of action when a manager is initially dealing with conflict. It is important that you take the time to hear all points of view. In many cases, just letting people talk through their issues will be enough. However, it is important that you get all of the information before taking any next step, regardless of how the conflict is resolved.
Compromise: When you are running out of time for a project, a compromise could be your best course of action. Basically, you just want to find an acceptable middle ground and move forward in a timely manner.