Soft Skills for Employee Conflict Resolution

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Written By Adrian Cruce






Resolving employee conflict is an integral component of being an HR manager, and failing to address it could wreak havoc with both your work environment and cause legal complications for the company.

Meet with employees involved in the dispute and give them time and space to express their sides of the story, including finding common ground that can help defuse it.

Listening Skills

Listening skills are among the top soft skills to acquire and are often essential components of productive collaboration. Without active listening, misunderstandings and miscommunication arise between employees, which could result in costly errors if left unaddressed. Employing active listening as a conflict resolution tool can help organizations reduce miscommunications and other workplace disputes more quickly and effectively.

Conflict in the workplace takes many forms, from personality clashes between coworkers to disagreements on work processes. While some conflicts can be resolved with open dialogue and mediation, others may require formal measures like performance reviews or disciplinary proceedings – in all cases it is crucial that workplace conflicts be identified and resolved promptly.

Managers should make it clear to employees when disputes arise that they can come directly to them with concerns and expect fair and respectful responses from management. Avoid gossip as this only serves to worsen the situation by making one party feel victimized by actions of another party.

Once an issue has been identified, it should be resolved in private to ensure both parties feel at ease when speaking freely about it. HR should also be present to offer objective perspective and assess any legal risks which could come into play; furthermore it helps identify what caused the problem, whether low job satisfaction or unclear expectations are some factors to keep in mind.

As part of any discussion, it is crucial to listen carefully and avoid interrupting both parties’ stories, while using “I” statements can help stop conversations from becoming defensive while emphasizing that each party has valid viewpoints. Furthermore, it’s crucial that we respect one another’s feelings without making personal attacks or using sarcasm against them. After the conversation concludes, employees should be encouraged to write out agreed-upon steps they can take in the future to address misunderstandings and prevent conflict.

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Observation Skills

Managers in any workplace setting benefit greatly from being adept observers, particularly with regards to observation skills. Good observation skills allow managers to see the bigger picture and interpret employee emotions or verbal communication that may lie beneath the surface, as well as being able to read body language which provides another layer of data for managers.

When employees are having an argument, things can quickly escalate out of proportion. A manager needs to intervene as needed but do so carefully in order to prevent full-scale conflict from erupting and bring both parties closer towards an acceptable resolution.

One way of accomplishing this is bringing the two employees who are having issues together in a neutral space and encouraging them to speak freely. This gives each party the chance to state their case while listening empathetically to that of the other person’s. This approach has proven very successful at helping both sides save face when working through workplace conflicts; getting HR involved early on in this process can provide objective viewpoints as well as identify any risks of discrimination or legal action that may exist in any conflict situation.

Methods for mitigating workplace conflict include creating clear collaboration guidelines and work processes, so employees don’t disagree over how things should be completed. Trust must also be built, which may be more challenging in remote workplaces; managers and HR leaders must therefore encourage teambuilding activities regularly in order to avoid conflict in this setting.

Strong managers must also recognize when an employee’s behavior warrants intervention. This might involve showing lack of professionalism, violating company policies or showing disrespect toward coworkers or customers. If this behavior persists, talk with the employee involved about taking appropriate disciplinary action if it continues.

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Verbal Communication Skills

Although disagreements will inevitably arise, effectively managing conflict is essential to effective management. Employees need to trust that their opinions will be heard and considered; at the same time they need to expect fair treatment from managers when conflicts arise; any decision to intervene must be carefully assessed against its potential benefits versus costs before being made.

If the problem involves sexual harassment or legal matters that require immediate response, managers may have no option other than intervening quickly or risk facing much more costly legal complications than simple employee disagreement over business issues.

Verbal communication skills are indispensable in managing workplace conflict. Listening carefully and asking open-ended questions to gain an understanding of each person’s point of view are integral parts of this strategy, with the ultimate aim being reducing tension by pinpointing its root source.

Employees involved in disputes often need a safe space and enough time to express themselves before any resolution can take place. Therefore, providing an appropriate setting is often key – something such as private meeting room where both sides can talk freely without interruptions from others or managers.

Once a conflict has been addressed, facilitative mediation can help resolve it. This method encourages employees to find a solution they both agree on while giving them an environment in which to work out any differences they may have with one another in a supportive setting. It follows from this that two employees know more than anyone about how best to address any potential problems at hand and will therefore be best equipped to find a resolution together.

Managers should conduct interviews to assess a candidate’s ability to resolve conflicts with coworkers, which will allow a hiring manager to gauge how effectively the candidate communicates in the workplace – an essential quality for forming productive teams.

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Interpersonal Skills

When conflict arises in the workplace, employees must have the ability to communicate constructively with one another – this type of communication is known as interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills include negotiation, persuasion and positively influencing others to find a mutually agreeable resolution of disagreements. They also include empathy as well as being able to take feedback without taking it personally; employes with these interpersonal abilities can help solve workplace disputes more quickly while remaining focused on their work rather than discord.

To avoid conflict, the initial step for employees should be expressing their feelings in a nonjudgmental environment. An open-door policy can help facilitate these discussions by showing employees they have access to talk directly to their supervisor about any problems that arise; when an issue does come up, your supervisor can either offer support or refer it to higher management for review.

Whenever an employee feels powerless to address issues with their direct supervisor, HR can serve as a mediator or neutral space to facilitate dialogue. Once identified, it should be determined the source of conflict; whether that means an interpersonal clash, miscommunication or lack of job satisfaction. At times it may be necessary for individuals involved to compromise in order to improve working conditions for all.

Once a resolution has been agreed upon, it’s essential to closely monitor any new issues. Failure to resolve conflicts effectively can result in further frustration and decreased productivity; positive working relationships must be restored immediately while any negative behavior must cease immediately.

Employers looking to hire candidates with strong interpersonal skills should ask interview questions that draw out this aspect of a candidate’s work history. Employers may also use an online recruiting site such as ZipRecruiter to screen applicants for experience, education and qualifications that also reveal interpersonal abilities – this may help reduce hiring mistakes that could cause costly workplace conflicts down the road.