Did you know that 85 percent of employees deal with conflict on some level on a regular basis? According to a Workplace report published in 2017, a startling statistic unearthed is that U.S. employees spend 2.1 hours per week involved with conflict, which costs employers approximately $359 billion a year.* Wow. The hurt and tension between two or more people costs employees and companies quite a lot.
Conflict happens to all of us.
Someone hurts our feelings, shares a snarky message, behaves in an aggressive way, incites conflict or cuts us off at the knees with a caustic remark. We’re hurt. We’re angry. We want to let the other person know how we feel and that we will not tolerate this kind of behavior. Yet the idea of confrontation and facing an aggressive person head on is something most of us don’t enjoy doing. So we let the tension escalate. This can lead to workplace conflict.
According to the Society of Human Resources Management, the negative effects of workplace conflict can include work disruptions, decreased productivity, project failure, absenteeism, turnover and termination.
Typically the best solution to address and work through the conflict is to face it head on with open dialogue. Facilitated conversations, mediation or honest and direct communication can solve much of the conflict and reduce the residual tension that hangs in the air when issues aren’t resolved. While it isn’t easy, it is the only way to resolve conflict.
To help, here are three steps you can take to reduce and prevent conflict moving forward:
Clear: First, many conflict resolution experts and therapists (and me, your coach) encourage clearing the emotion from the conflict. Any kind of conflict leads to unhealthy levels of emotional stress, which can then be both a cause and an effect of additional workplace conflict.
One way to clear emotions is by writing down your feelings in a journal, letter or email but only in one that you will never share. Let me repeat—never share it. There’s something cathartic about putting our feelings in writing, it’s almost as if there is a physical transfer from our chest and minds to a piece of paper. The stress decreases immensely and helps you sift through your emotions to find the facts.
Confront: The second step involves confronting conflict head on. If you’re concerned about facing your aggressor or worried that your intent or words may be miscommunicated, then work with your coach to shore up your confidence and get clarity on your concerns.
Communicate: Then when you are ready to communicate your concerns, find an unbiased facilitator to help both parties address their points clearly and without allowing emotions to take over. This is also a great way to be seen as a leader and get any unwarranted behaviors on the record.
* “Workplace Conflict and How Businesses Can Harness It to Thrive” Report.
How To Be Career Happy? Employe The Three C’s to Reducing Conflict