One thing that is inevitable in a workplace where there are people from different backgrounds with different values, beliefs etc is conflicts. Workplace conflict is a state of disagreement among individuals working together, which may be caused by an alleged or genuine opposition of needs, beliefs, and interests.
It is important to resolve employee conflicts promptly in order to maintain a smooth working environment. It is not a good idea to assume that conflicts will simply disappear naturally; even simple conflicts can grow into major problems in an organization if not dealt with appropriately and quickly. Causes of employee conflicts should be understood by the Human Resource department and the management so that a proactive measure can be put in place before such conflicts escalate beyond control.
There are so many causes of tension among employees in an organization, but it is not the focus of this article. However, it is important to know the cause of a problem to properly address it. Listed below some of the causes of employee tension in an organization:
- Poor communication
- Clash of personalities
- Clashing values
- Warring egos
- Poor leadership
- Lack of honesty
- Conflicting Roles
- Conflicting goals
Few ways to effectively manage workplace tension among employees.
Establish staff rules and regulations
As stated earlier, conflict among employees is inevitable. However, one of the ways to manage it preventively is to establish rules and regulations that define boundaries to relationships among employees. For instance, citizens of most secular nations have the right and freedom to practice different religious and social beliefs, which are sensitive to them.
Therefore, opinion and counter-opinion relating to such sensitive matters if not controlled have the potential to create tension and conflict among employees. It is therefore important that organizations should establish rules that prohibit employees from expressing views that contradict the beliefs of a fellow employee while in the workplace. This is the surest way of managing tension that could have arisen from a disagreement in values.
Create communication channel
Workplace tension could increase if there is a lack of open communication channels. When communication channels such face-to-face meeting and written communication between workers and management are created, it reduces tension in the workplace.
Also, regular meetings is another open channel of communication that help to keep employees informed about company projects and assist in defusing any rumors or misunderstandings about new plans and policies. Regular meetings provide the opportunity for employees to get clarifications on company policies, table any issue of concerns and ask questions about working environments or processes.
As stated earlier that one of the causes of tension among employees is leadership failures; therefore, constant training for all employees of your organization is very important irrespective of their levels. Such training should focus on helping staff members manage tension, teach them stress-reducing exercise activities and recommended ways to build positive connections with their co-workers.
It is believed that companies that provide advice for establishing sensible working habits and workweek planning also experience less employee stress and tension.
Give immediate attention to complaints and deal with them
Dealing with complaint promptly is one way to manage tension among employees; it prevents a growing concern from going out of control. Companies that offer a formal process for filing and handling complaints regarding workplace issues are likely to have less tension among workers than companies that don’t put such processes in place.
A tip for you: your Human Resource department should incorporate a human resource software that can help employees log in a complaint immediately the issue comes up. The earlier a potential problem is reported the earlier it can be dealt with, reducing the possibility of a full-blown conflict.
Listen to both parties and know the facts
Once a conflict situation has occurred in the workplace, the best approach is to inquire to know what the conflict is about by inviting for a free expression of feelings and frustrations regarding the conflict from those involved.
To achieve this, you need to clearly define boundaries and make sure that they understand the goal of such dialogue and the need to express themselves. Explore the concerns of both parties and assess the situation by asking questions and make sure you avoid making statements about your own point of view until both persons’ positions have been clearly understood.
Find common ground and encourage compromise
Once you have listened and clearly understood both parties, try to look at the conflict objectively. Thereafter, find a common ground, which is very important, because each side may have some concerns that may be agreed upon by the other party. This will form the foundation that will enable you to create a connection between the parties involved.
Afterward, you need to encourage both sides to compromise. You need to make it clear to both sides that each person must have to give in a little for the purpose of working together; though it may take some time because each side may already have their own viewpoint or version of what should be done for the issue to be resolved. However, once this is accomplished, everyone will feel a lot better.