In "The Big Book of HR," Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem clarify that while it is preferable to avoid conflicts in the workplace, there is a lot you can learn from them as long as the correct steps are taken. How a conflict is handled can go a long way to determining the effect on your employees' morale. The actions you take as a manger will ultimately play a role in whether a conflict ends up being negative or positive in the long run.
Mitchell and Gamlem wrote that a conflict is negative when:
- Differences are not addressed;
- Expectations are not managed;
- Assumptions rather than facts are central to the disagreement; and,
- The individuals involved or affected don’t want to be part of the solution.
You can avoid all of the issues that come with those mistakes by addressing the conflict in a positive manner. You do this by:
- Respecting the value of the conflict and making sure differences are honored and respected;
- Making sure issues are open and not masked;
- Ensuring ideas and personalities are central; and,
- Managing emotions and making sure points of view are expressed in a skillful and respectful manner.