Reducing Workplace Conflict | 3 Ways to Minimize Workplace Tension

Posted August 15, 2014

As much as we’d all like to avoid it, conflict is present in every workplace.  In fact, managers spend about 25 percent of their time resolving workplace tension.  Reducing conflict is one of the biggest challenges managers and employees face, since many people would rather avoid issues than have to deal with confrontation.

However, because tension can cause lower workplace morale and decreased productivity, it should not simply be brushed under the rug.

3 Ways to Resolve Conflict Before You Face the Risk of Physical Altercations.

Resolve problems first-hand.
If you’re experiencing tension with an employee, try to deal with the problem directly before escalating to another supervisor.  Approach the staff member respectfully when other colleagues are not around.  Express your feelings, address your concerns, and let them know you’d like to resolve the conflict.  Bring the issues to the table without accusing or laying blame on them.  Not only will this help resolve the conflict quickly, it will keep from damaging your professional reputation and being seen as a tattletale.

Listen carefully.
Getting defensive and using verbal attacks to silence opponents won’t lead to favorable results or a lasting solution.  Instead, sit down with the employees experiencing conflict and try to understand both sides of the issue.  Make sure you acknowledge their feelings and repeat their opinion back to enhance your understanding.

In a tense situation, people are often so focused on making sure that everyone knows their viewpoint is the right one, that they don’t even listen to what the other person has to say.  This is known as us-versus-them mentality.  If you take a step back to listen to what the other person has to say, a good percentage of the time you’ll realize that you were both saying the same thing in a different way. Your ears are the best tools to eliminate tension.

Be willing to compromise.
It’s completely normal for employees to have different feelings and perspectives on situations within the workplace.  Stubbornness or holding a grudge won’t help anything.  Because you have to see and work with your colleagues everyday, it’s necessary to make compromises.  Meet in the middle in order to resolve the conflict.  Even if it this means giving up ground on some aspects of your argument, it demonstrates that you’re adult enough to not let emotion control your behavior.  

Agree on a resolution so there isn’t any leftover tension.  If there is, both parties are likely to become more tempted to get defensive and pick fights whenever they’re forced to interact.  Choose your battles wisely and enforce compromises on trivial matters, so everyone will get along better in the future.

If you follow these steps to reducing workplace tension, you’ll help keep office morale and productivity from decreasing and set a higher expectation for how confrontations should be handled.  You can turn conflict into an opportunity to gain constructive feedback for staff development.

Looking to hire additional staff to decrease stress and tension in the workplace?

Let the experienced team at All Team Staffing help.  Since 1989, All Team has been providing employers with proven staffing solutions that help grow their business, reduce risk, and boost their bottom line.  Contact us today to see how we can provide the best talent for your organization.