Conflict in the workplace is something that has been around as long as there have been employers and employees. It’s not something that is ever going to go away, but there are effective ways of dealing with conflict to reach resolution.

We are brought in to address conflict situations frequently. There is a lot of it going on in the workplace.

As conflict resolution experts in the Boise Metro area, we would like to break down this topic. According to recent statistics published by Harvard Business Review, 85% of employees experience conflict in their workplace, and 76% of them are conflict avoidant. These same statistics show that there are two main causes of conflict: differing perspectives (57%), and personality differences (43%). In this blog we will explore these sources and provide a tool you can use to help resolve conflict in your workplace.

Unresolved conflict in the workplace can lead to resentment between co-workers as well as management if not handled properly and in a timely manner. Far too often we are called in after a year or more of ongoing conflict. It makes sense, in most cases, that conflict works itself out, or at least we hold out hope that it will. But in the bad cases, it can cause a long-lasting ripple effect where eventually top performers leave. From a financial perspective, research shows that conflict costs companies nationwide approximately $356 billion annually.

Negative effects of unresolved conflict include decreased productivity, decreased morale, increased stress and anxiety, high turnover, and poor communication and collaboration. And when conflict is managed in a constructive manner to resolution, it leads to positive results, such as stronger team bonds, improved decision-making, and enhanced creativity and innovation.

So, how do we overcome this damaging problem? By breaking down conflict. Listening objectively is essential, as is addressing the facts, or core issues. Those issues are rooted in values, priorities, and emotions of the involved employees. Exploring these core issues with those directly involved in the conflict is essential.

The next step is creating realistic solutions. It’s easy for those who are involved in the conflict to say, “if they apologize, I will feel better.” But that is not realistic. Realistic solutions include what we can control. When we are called in to help resolve conflict, we aim to keep the team intact. Co-creating realistic solutions with those involved in conflict helps us achieve this goal.

Finally, it is important to have all parties understand their role in the conflict through self-awareness. This requires a lot of self-accountability and self-reflection. Sadly, not everyone is ready for that, but in most cases, folks are ready to move forward and are willing to own their part, even if just a little bit, and sometimes moving the needle just a little goes a long way toward the desired outcome.

By acknowledging the prevalent nature of workplace conflict and addressing the root causes through proactive conflict resolution measures, organizations can work towards creating a more cohesive and efficient work environment, which nets so many positive outcomes.

Conflict management is not an easy business, but as the stats show, effective resolution strategies are needed, and once the conflict is resolved, morale and productivity increase.

If you need help in resolving conflict in your workplace, reach out for a free initial consult. First, though, we encourage you to think about a few questions:

• How has conflict impacted your workplace?
• How are you currently managing conflict at work?
• How would you want to respond to conflict situations?

Founded in 1987, The Personnel Perspective is a full-service HR management consulting firm specializing in human resources, leadership development, conflict resolution, and training. For insightful approaches to resolving workplace conflicts, explore conflict resolution strategies Boise. The firm’s core belief is that a company achieves organizational excellence through its people. Contact us to learn more: (707) 801-0140.