By Nicholas Dillon
Workplace conflict can be a challenging consequence for professionals. For some, managing conflict may come natural and for others; it is the taboo of situations that they want to avoid. Given our current economy, workplace conflict is on the rise. A recent poll indicated that human resources spend anywhere from 25-30 percent of their time mediating employee conflicts. If not dealt with, workplace conflict can lead to harassment, intimidation, and even workplace violence.
It should always be your objective to not let workplace conflict escalate to extreme measures. Understanding how to deal with workplace challenges and disagreements will help you avoid the stress and tension that comes along for the ride.
There are several different approaches that we can take to resolving workplace conflict. As a Corporate Trainer, I have facilitated several workshops on this topic and have consistently suggested that "Collaboration" is the best way to resolve conflict. The other options for resolving workplace conflict include avoidance, compromise, & accommodate. Don't get me wrong, depending on your personality, you may find that these other options work best for you and your situation. However, if the objective is to go for a "Win-WIN" approach and not walk away feeling as though you gave up something, then "Collaboration" is the best option.
Collaboration requires all parties involved to come up with the best solution that works. The point being is that no one feels as though they are not being heard but rather that they are contributing to a positive outcome that everyone feels supportive on.
How well you understand conflict resolution can have as much or more impact as your communication and professional skills. Here are a few suggestions that will help you deal effectively with conflict when it arises in the workplace.
As you continue your professional work experience, remember to inquire about the organization's professional boundaries and clear expectations on conflict resolution. Make sure that the workplace culture aligns with your core values and beliefs so that you do not struggle with internal conflict. Choose your battles when it comes to workplace conflict. You may find that some things are not worth giving your energy to. A conflict-free workplace would be beneficial to us all. However, it is not just the reality most professionals deal with. You will have to learn to expect conflict at some point. Just remember healthy conflict fosters creativity and innovation. Are you ready for the challenge?