How to Resolve Workplace Conflicts When Our People Clock In Post Pandemic

As corporate Malaysia moves into the endemic phase, we are seeing more people returning to the office.

This means more face-to-face interaction with colleagues, and for those who joined an organisation in the midst of the pandemic, it could mean that they are meeting their colleagues on a regular basis, for the first time in close to two years!

As a result, there may be some friction during this adjustment period, leading to conflicts in the workplace.

Workplace conflict occurs when there are disagreements between employees due to opposing interests, personalities, beliefs, or ideas. Conflicts in the workplace are natural and inevitable when people with different backgrounds work side by side, every day for more than 7 hours.

However, conflicts in the workplace can be beneficial, and if managed correctly, they will make a difference to your organization. Read on to learn more about how to deal with workplace conflict in a healthy way.

Prioritising the root cause of conflicts
  • Usually there are several types of conflicts in the workplace: from personality conflicts to interdependent activity conflicts; when the misadventures of one department can cause problems for another department, to conflicts of work styles; and even leadership style conflicts.
  • By identifying the root cause of a conflict, you can find the best way to move forward and help both sides come to a resolution more effectively.
Keeping Conflicts Private
  • To have a constructive conversation, make sure you find a safe and private place to talk. It is important that parties to a conflict feel comfortable and safe in expressing their concerns.
  • Make sure all parties involved have enough airtime to speak up and present their grievances so that neither party feels inferior to the other. While it is important to get as much information from the conflicting parties as possible, the mediator must also ensure that no one person dominates the conversation.
Focusing on behaviours and events; not on personalities
  • As a mediator, it is important that you attend the meeting with a neutral attitude. Avoid taking sides and listen to each person without partiality.
  • Also, during the conversation, try to find any underlying sources of conflict that may not be obvious at first.
  • Depending on the situation, one-on-one conversations may be required, as some people may feel uncomfortable with direct confrontation. Find a common ground and work out a solution that all conflicting parties agree on.
Allocating responsibilities between the parties
  • It may also be helpful to allocate responsibilities between the parties in resolving a conflict.
  • Each person involved in the conflict must understand what is expected of him or her, and what effective measures he or she must take to move the situation towards resolution.
  • In short, stick with the discussions with a “let’s-work-out-a-solution” attitude, and until you have worked through each area of conflict.
Building on success to future proof similar conflicts
  • Once this is done, look for preventive measures that can be taken to avoid similar conflicts from reoccurring.
  • Preventive measures will also help you to know what you can do when the problem returns.

Generally speaking, workplace conflict is inevitable, but managing and resolving workplace conflicts is an integral part of achieving organisational goals. By continually trying to fill the gaps in communication, you will prepare your team to minimise conflict in the best possible way!

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