How to Handle Conflict at Work

Conflicts will always arise at the workplace. Irrespective of how much we hate it, it is a universal truth that there is no organization in the world which is free of conflict.

It may be a small matter that can be easily resolved, or it may be a major conflict that threatens the existence of the business entity. This does not mean that the organization has to be in a chaotic state at all times. Conflict can be the beginning of interesting relations at work. The managers have to be meticulous in dealing with it. They must do so in a manner that is fair to all and the means used to arrive at a solution must be void of bias or prejudice.

workplace conflict
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Here are a few tips that are useful in minimizing and handling work related warfare.

1. Define what is acceptable

This is the first step in avoiding unnecessary rivalry. Ensure that all employees understand the kind of behavior that is expected of them. Clearly define a framework that highlights code of ethics. Let them know what will not be tolerated. In the same light ensure that everyone’s job description is crystal clear to avoid situations where there is conflict arising from ambiguity in roles. This framework should be used whenever there is a conflict, and the employees have to be aware of its existence. The policies which have been set up have to be utilized as the basis for conflict resolution.

2. Deal with conflict as soon as it arises

Tugs of war at the workplace should not be ignored for too long. Ignoring such clashes will only give them time to flare up. It may spread like bushfire, and before you know it, it is all over the organization. This particular reason necessitates prompt confrontation of the conflict before it goes out of control. Do not let it escalate to a level where you cannot effectively deal with it. Do not bury your head in the sand. A few conflicts will calm down naturally, but most conflicts do not die down without some sort of intervention.

3. Listen to all parties and then act

It is only fair that both parties are accorded an audience before action is taken. Sometimes it is not necessary to do so, especially when it is quite obvious that one party is on the wrong. However, it is only right that both sides of the dispute are heard so as to arrive at a conclusion that is free and fair. Listen to what each party has to say before taking any serious action. Ascertain the facts and then act accordingly.

4. Request a third party to intervene

Whenever there is a conflict, it is important to ask an impartial third party to mediate. This is particularly important when you have made attempts to resolve the conflict without any significant progress. A third party will bring in some fresh ideas and give the parties concerned a notion that someone has listened to them, which is a crucial step towards healing.

5. Aim at finding a lasting solution

The idea behind conflict resolution is to come up with a lasting solution. You have to be solution oriented. As much as you acknowledge the problem, you have to suggest possible solutions which will bring the dispute to an end once and for all. This will help the parties to open up as they give their opinions about the suggested solutions, which should improve the situation.

6. Keep emotions away from the process

The greatest mistake people make is to let their emotions interfere with their decisions. The same applies while solving conflicts. Emotions will only aggravate a bad situation. Try to remain sober and to think as straight as possible. Ensure that emotions are kept off the bay so that they do not interfere with the process.

About the Author: Suzan Morley has over 10 years of HR experience.

Using the Downed Economy to Find Quality Contractors for Your Business

In a struggling economy, it becomes more important than ever for companies to make smart staffing choices that will be cost-efficient and practical. For some businesses, this means carefully balancing how many employees you maintain and how much work they’re expected to complete. Overworked employees have reduced productivity, while hiring too many people can negatively impact your bottom line.

Using Contract Workers to Increase Productivity

In cases where the work requirements exceed your current staffing, hiring temporary workers on contract positions can be a great alternative. Due to the economic downturn, more people have turned to freelancing either as a supplement to their current jobs or as a replacement for jobs that have been lost. This means that skilled workers are available to hire on a temporary basis as your projects demand without needing to pay for full-time employees.

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Here are a few reasons why hiring contract workers can help your business:

  • You don’t need to pay for benefits for contract workers, so you can save long-term costs for maintaining your employees.
  • You can budget enough to complete certain projects without needing to worry about maintaining employees long-term, saving you substantial money over the course of a year.
  • Contract workers often have specific areas of expertise and are highly-skilled in those areas, making them a better choice for certain projects than your full-time employees.
  • Hiring contractors removes some of the stress from your existing employee base, increasing their productivity and improving their morale.
  • Letting contractors go at the end of a project does not have the same associated loss of morale as laying off full-time workers.

Hiring part-time workers isn’t always the best choice for all companies, but it’s often a smart strategy during high-stress times when your business has a heavy workload or specific needs. If you need high-quality, specialized work during certain times of the year, it’s worth looking into hiring part-time workers to complete these projects.

Considerations When Hiring Contractors

Of course, when hiring freelancers and other temporary workers, it’s important to use the same care and consideration you do whenever hiring any other employee. Indeed, it can be smart to assess your contractors more carefully as there are few guarantees of where else the employee may be working. They may be moonlighting for you while working full-time for a competitor, or they may be using their time with you to gain skills or knowledge for a different position.

For these reasons, it can be a good idea to have contractors sign a non-disclosure agreement. This will help protect your information and prevent the freelancer from spreading any trade secrets he discovers while under your employment.

Of course, the majority of contractors are honest and will not divulge any proprietary information, but it pays to be careful. You can also check with other businesses in your field to see if they have any experience with contractors; they may be able to provide recommendations or warnings about freelancers in your area and line of work.

About the Author: Randy Hutcherson is a freelance blogger, who writes about business management topics. If you are interested in furthering your business career, Randy recommends checking out the school with the best online MBA programs.