Creating a Positive Work Environment: Managing Conflict and Building Stronger Teams

On average, over 4 hours are spent on solving conflicts in the workplace, and 1 in 4 employees believe their boss manages this conflict poorly.  

Disagreements are inevitable in business; however, if you want to limit them and ensure they don’t affect job performance, then you need to resolve them effectively. 

Learn how creating a positive work environment will lead to a stronger and more efficient team.

Defining Job Roles 

Talking to employees after hiring them helps the new staff member clearly understand their role within the company. This will not only help them comprehend their job duties, but it will also set boundaries. 

When your employees know who is responsible for certain decisions and tasks, then you will reduce the chances of an argument. A defined power structure means there is no question of who gets to have the final say on an important decision. 

Defining roles will also add more respect within the workplace. Establish a hierarchy so that employees know who to ask for permission and respect those decisions because of this level of authority.

Employees should also be clear about how their role fulfils the overall mission of the company. This gives them a purpose so that they feel like part of the team. Plus, their tasks have more meaning because they are contributing to a larger cause, no matter how small the responsibility. 

Having Effective Communication

Conducting activities at work requires proper communication. If your team cannot convey their message, insights, and concerns to each other, then productivity is reduced, and conflict arises. 

Effective communication is displayed in several ways, including:

  • Listening before responding
  • Providing an outlet for communication
  • Giving constructive feedback rather than criticism
  • Speaking to someone rather than about someone
  • Using a mediator to resolve miscommunication

Your staff should also feel comfortable sharing their opinions and addressing issues in an honest yet respectable manner. Ensure you have clear protocols for communicating, whether it is anonymous or not. 

In addition, you should encourage all methods of communication because not everyone likes face-to-face conflict resolution. Remote work options also make it difficult to meet in person. Therefore, you need to use technology to interact with your employees and resolve conflicts from a distance. This includes having regular team meetings online to check in on people.

Removing Negativity for Increased Productivity

Setting business goals won’t help your company if it is filled with negativity. This kind of attitude leads to pessimism among your employees, which will eventually cause conflict. 

To avoid this, you have to address any negativity. For example, if you feel that some employees oppose a new company policy, then you need to ask them for feedback. If this isn’t addressed, then your staff will start to hold resentment toward you or other employees who are thriving under the policy. 

Conflict resulting from negativity leads to a decrease in productivity as well. Consider regular team meetings to ensure all your employees are on the same page. You may even want to have a voting system to see if anyone has a problem with general operations or policy changes. 

Once an issue is found, then you need to resolve them quickly, or else your staff may place blame on you or a supervisor because they feel left out of the decision-making process.

By including all of your staff in larger decisions or having team building exercises, you make them feel like they are part of the team and, therefore, an integral part of the company’s success. You will not only see production increase but also retention. 

Building Trust

One of the best ways to help your employees work well together is by them enjoying time together by having activities at work. Team building exercises open the lines of communication and build trust among you and your staff as well as each other.

Having trust will also make it easier to resolve conflict because your staff will know that the outcome will be fair. Compromises will be easier to achieve when your employees know that there are no biases or resentments being held against them.

Allowing your employees to be open and honest is part of building trust. They should know that their opinions matter and that their voices are heard rather than ignored. This is especially helpful during a disagreement where opinions clash. Finding a middle ground or choosing one opinion over the other won’t result in further conflict because everyone trusts that the best outcome will be chosen. 

Hiring Based on Personality and Virtue

A preventative measure to avoid conflict and resolve it faster is by talking to employees before they are hired.

You need to find new members of your team who aren’t just qualified because of their resumes. Having a collaborative mindset and a similar set of virtues will make it much easier for them to work with you and their future co-workers.

Creating a positive work environment also means looking for personalities that thrive on teamwork and ones that match the mood of the office. For example, if you have an open workspace, then you don’t want to hire someone who prefers to hide in their office all day.  

Think about hiring someone and how that fits into achieving business goals. How do they contribute to the overall mission of your company? This process will help you choose a staff filled with passion so that conflict isn’t a reason to leave the company. The conflict should just be part of the process of reaching these goals so a productive solution is possible.  

Creating a Positive Work Environment Limits Conflict

By creating a positive work environment, you may find that disagreements don’t lead to conflict. This means that they can be resolved naturally through systems of communication, trust, and teamwork. Your job becomes easier when the overall conflict-resolution process of your company is running smoothly.

Find out more about becoming a leader and a master of resolving conflict by contacting us about professional development courses.

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