How to Manage Conflicts in a Work Team

Written by Emily Liu

On May 6, 2020

Employees of a company usually have different backgrounds and working styles. When they gather together to work for a common goal, conflict is inevitable. According to an Accountemps survey, managers spend, on average, 18% of their time to deal with team conflict. However, a harmonious workplace is essential to let employees maintain high work efficiency and improve trust between them. Therefore, as the leader of the company, small business owners need to deal with the conflict proactively and find a resolution for it.
 

Find Out the Causes for Conflict

 
To help employees solve a conflict, the first thing business owners need to know is why the dispute arises. There are various ways of conflict, including conflicts between two employees and disagreements between a supervisor and a team member. The conflict between employees is usually because of ambiguous information, performance deficiencies, or employees’ different behavioral and working styles. When it comes to the conflict between a leader and team members, the cause is usually about the management style. The most common reasons are the inappropriate use of authority or the lack of guidance and instructions.
 

Communicate More

 
The majority of work team conflict is caused by misunderstanding and confusion between employees. The root reason behind it is the lack of communication. Companies should encourage employees to communicate more with each other. When conflict arises, create opportunities to let employees talk together. Make sure every party has enough time to say their opinion and their understanding of the problem. As a third party, the company needs to ensure that both parties can express themselves without interruption. Clarify the issue and confirm with each party whether they understand when it is required.
 

Use the Employee Handbook

 
The company’s employee handbook helps prevent conflict effectively, and it also allows business owners to make an objective judgment when mediating a dispute between employees. The manual lists standard ground rules that every employee must stick to. It also contains some pertinent policies which can be used to judge whether employees’ behavior is acceptable or not. Therefore, to ensure the conflict is solved justly, business owners should make their decision based on the manual. Be clear that no employee should do something against the company rules.

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