Ways to manage conflict in the workplace
May 25, 2022

Conflict resolution in the workplace is a skill and not always easily achieved by managers and employers. The types of conflict found between employees, and employees and their bosses are too numerous to deal with in just one article and we recommend that employers should look to experts in this field when faced with issues that seem to be beyond their control.

In the hopes of being of some assistance, however, this article offers some basic advice on possible ways to manage conflict in the workplace. There are, in essence, 5 styles of conflict management and when one understands these you may be able to use the one most appropriate to deal with your conflict situation…

Passive conflict resolution

This is probably the most desirable one from the Manager’s point of view – When one of the parties is willing to recognise that the conflict is simply not worth the potential consequences, backs down and just lets the whole thing go. Unfortunately, this is seldom achieved. In the case of labour disputes especially, it is most unlikely to happen.

Compromise

When one party does not give in altogether but a compromise between the two parties is reached is probably one of the best and most commonly used methods of conflict resolution. It can be thwarted, however, when important needs must be met and are not if it is an urgent situation, or one party holds more power than the other – which can lead to…

Power play resolution

This is a less than desirable outcome and results from when one party uses its power to resolve the situation by simply not backing down or threatening the other party with a loss of some sort. It is not ideal as one party feels that they have just been steamrollered and this can lead to more conflict further down the line!

Collaborative conflict resolution

This is the most desirable outcome for both parties and results from the management finding a way for the complainants to take a collaborative approach for the good of resolving the issue and working happily together in the long term. Whether it is a personal employee conflict, or a labour related issue – collaboration and compromise are always the keys to a win-win situation.

Avoidance

This is the worst way to deal with conflict and usually happens when the Management has no idea what to do or how to handle the situation. Often in the belief that the conflict is trivial or won’t lead to anything – they simply avoid the issue altogether. Avoidance can often exacerbate the situation in fact and in the case of a labour dispute, this should definitely not be the approach.

In any scenario where the employer feels that the conflict can lead to a worsening situation in the workplace, possibly become a legal labour issue, or if they feel inadequate to deal with the conflict we recommend that they immediately…

Consult the professionals

One of the most useful services offered by Platinum Business Solutions (PBS) is the area of Labour disputes. We have sound knowledge and understanding of all the labour laws, the impact it has on labour relations and strategic and practical ways of dealing with conflict management. For assistance in this area please don’t hesitate to contact us – and let’s ensure that you are always able to competently manage conflict in the workplace!

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