How do you deal with conflict in the workplace?

The 3 Arms of Conflict Resolution

Recently the phrase “toxic workplace culture” has emerged on a number occasions in the media. It concerns me that Directors and Management are allowing workplace issues to escalate to the point where their “toxic” workplace culture makes headlines.

The key to dealing appropriately with conflict or grievances in the workplace is to address the issues immediately rather than do nothing and hope it resolves itself. To accomplish this, leaders and managers need the emotional intelligence and communication skills to recognise that something isn’t right and try to find out what’s going on.

Unfortunately, managers and supervisors are often ill-equipped to handle conflict in the workplace. Sometimes the manager or supervisor may be seen as having a bias. In these cases, it is best practice for the employer to seek independent assistance to investigate the possible issues.

There are three main phases of conflict resolution in the workplace:

1. Investigation

When an employer receives a verbal or written complaint, for example an allegation of bullying or harassment, they are obliged to investigate the issue to determine what actually happened and whether a breach has occurred. An independent workplace investigator brings unbiased investigative expertise and can recommend a plan for continuous improvement.

2. Mediation / Intervention / Group Facilitation

Mediation creates a safe space for people to delve into the deeper issues and navigate towards a resolution. An experienced mediator is able to identify where relationships have an undercurrent, or when particular issues need to be discussed. Group facilitation is particularly useful when there are issues or underlying conflict within a team of employees.

3. Communication, Training & Development

This third phase of conflict resolution is essential for creating a sustainable culture shift within your organisation. Effective communication and management skills can be learned and developed with the proper tools and training. In addition to improving their communication skills, managers need to stay up to date with legal requirements around handling grievances, discrimination, bullying and harassment and creating a safe working environment. All employees should receive regular training on organisational values and appropriate workplace conduct.

WorkPlacePLUS has a qualified team of consultants with extensive experience in conducting unbiased evidence based workplace investigations.

To help you resolve complex workplace issues, WorkPlacePLUS provides mediation services with a commitment to continuous improvement and strengthening teams. Our skilled mediators are certified to perform court-mandated mediation under the National Mediation Accreditation System.

For more information, please contact us today.

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