How to Prevent Workplace Conflicts

August 9, 2017 | by Myan Barredo

Photo Credit: HRMOnline

Each individual has his or her own unique personality, priorities, and style of working. Compatibility with others is certainly possible, but workplace conflicts are still likely to arise when we are required to work together. They are a normal part of any organization and are inevitable, yet can be prevented.

Conflict prevention is important so as not to bring grave repercussions to the company. And leaders or business owners and employees alike have to do their part in preventing conflicts in the workplace. Here are five ways that you can follow to do so and to maintain a friendly and productive work environment.

Be Aware of Personality and Generational Clashes

According to one report from personality assessment consultancy OPP, 49% of workplace conflicts can be attributed to differences in personality and warring egos. Try not to get involved in other people’s disagreements. Cliques may exist but it’s best if you distance yourself from them and just maintain a good working relationship with everyone. It also helps if the management identifies underlying tensions immediately to prevent things from getting serious.

Generational differences can also be a cause of conflict. An example for this would be a millenial versus a baby boomer’s ability to adapt to new technology. A young co-worker may learn quicker while the older colleague might struggle getting used to new programs. Patience, understanding, and embracing diversity in personalities and generations are keys to preventing conflicts.

Set Workplace Conflict Management Strategies

Every team is going to experience conflict at some point, but it’s great if you already have strategies in place where everyone’s working harmoniously and before tensions arise. Rowena Crosbie, president of Tero International Inc., a company that specializes in training businessmen on team building, said “CEOs, department heads and supervisors have to set the organizational culture on how people in their office handle conflict.” You can create a guideline that states the steps for reporting a conflict, as well as ways to prevent it from recurring.

Practice Good Communication Skills

A survey conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce found that young employees lack workplace communication skills. This is something that should be addressed seriously as lack of and ineffective communication can be damaging. To avoid misunderstandings and conflicts in the workplace, make sure you are clear and precise in communicating with colleagues. Be respectful and polite. You should also be careful on how you send your messages via email, text, or chat. Make sure that your actions and gestures don’t offend anybody.

Maintain Honesty and Transparency in the Workplace

“Honesty is the best policy” may be an overused motto, but it’s valuable and should be adapted in every workplace. Display genuine attitude and never pretend to be somebody you are not just to please others. Be honest with work and quickly admit mistakes if committed. Avoid gossiping and backbiting by all means.

Maintaining a transparent management is also important to avoid conflicts and confusions and to build good relations and trust between the executives and the rest of the workforce. Aside from job security and career advancement opportunities, employees seek transparency to know the real status of the company and so they can protect themselves.

Don’t Carry Personal Problems at Work

Family problems, illnesses, and other personal issues can impact your job and distract you from doing your work. Try to concentrate on your work activities and keep your personal issues on the backburner when at the workplace. Being affected by problems outside of work can decrease your efficiency and productivity. This could result to conflicts with a co-worker or problem with management.

Find ways on how to handle your personal issues and keep them from negatively affecting your job. Try to be more flexible to maintain a healthy professional working environment.

Conflicts are bound to arise in any workplace, but there are ways to prevent them so the situation won’t get worse. Being aware of possible clashes, communicating properly, and separating personal life from professional life are just three of the many ways that you can do to prevent workplace conflicts. A healthy, conflict-free work environment is key to a healthy and successful company.

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