In the post-pandemic world, conflicts at work seem prevalent: We haven’t had to “people” much in-person, so opposite personalities are likely to clash, stress is omnipresent, perceptions of in-person vs. virtual situations vary, and viewpoints on where we’re going, how we’ll get there, and why we’re doing this project will all differ—all of which contribute to tension and disagreement when we do get back together in-person. Knowing how to manage these situations effectively is key to keeping productivity and morale high moving forward.
Avoiding conflict or mismanaging it comes at a high cost to organizations. According to one report, employees in the United States spend 2.8 hours per week on workplace conflict, resulting in $359 billion in lost time.
“Unfortunately, employees and managers tend to avoid conflict because they either don’t want to deal with it or they aren’t properly trained to do so,” says Adrienne Isakovic, a lecturer for Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication program. “Their instinct is to default to the human resources department even though they shouldn’t. It’s an avoidance mechanism.”
Here are five strategies to help you effectively resolve conflicts at work:
- Detach from Your Biases
- Actively Listen
- Practice Empathy
- Focus on the Behavior
- Know When to Escale/Involve Others