Often, we find ourselves in workplace situations that create tension and drama. How we handle or do not handle it determines how effectively we can resolve it utilizing interpersonal skills and finesse. Dr. Martina Carroll-Garrison, an Executive Leadership Coach, has some thoughts that may be worth considering.

Today’s Workplace

Unresolved conflict can result in loss of productivity, reduced creativity, and limited employee engagement, barriers to teamwork and even higher turnover or attrition. We must address it immediately.

The Root Causes 

Generally, there are three causes for workplace conflict

  • Lack of Clarity: Unclear roles in the chain of command or misunderstanding the organizational goals and mission can be frustrating.
  • Relationship Issues: In today’s workplace, employee personal lives and work lives are no longer mutually exclusive.
  • Resistance: Employees engage in organizational “resistance” for a variety of reasons, ranging from lack of understanding, through intellectual disagreement, to unconscious bias, or to more overt psychological prejudices.

Working Through Workplace Conflict with Tact and Finesse – Six Responses

The First Response is to acknowledge the presence of the conflict.

The Second Response is not to fear conflict, recognize and embrace it.

The Third Response is to not ask “why” which may trigger defensiveness or anger.

The Fourth Response is to explore and bring the various parties in the conflict together to gain a better understanding and move toward mutual understanding.

The Fifth Response can include defining acceptable behavior and being aware of your own behavior.

The Sixth Response serves to create an opportunity to resolve organizational dysfunctions quickly and tactfully.

With less conflict in your organization you can foster an environment of creative innovation, retain your top performers, strengthen supervisory relationships and keep your teams engaged and openly communicating.

For a more detailed treatment of dealing with conflict in the workplace, see Dr. Carroll-Garrison’s article at LinkedIn.

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