Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every workplace operated in a harmonious way? Fortunately, for many companies in our community, this is the case. Organizations with people who work in harmony have capabilities that nurture their capacity for pleasure and work. Ultimately, companies in which people collaborate best will have a competitive edge.
Naturally, conflict is inevitable. People are human and sometimes drama just happens. While some conflict can be good and productive in a dynamic environment where people are challenged to take risks, most conflict is detrimental to an organization… especially if it’s not dealt with effectively. Hence, conflict becomes an obstacle that leaders must learn to manage to the benefit of the organization.
Organizational leaders are responsible for creating a work environment that enables people to thrive. If turf wars, disagreements and differences of opinion escalate into interpersonal conflict, you must intervene immediately.
Five key considerations for building harmony in the workplace:
- Do not avoid the conflict, hoping it will go away. It won’t! Conflict that appears to have been superficially put to rest will rear its ugly head whenever stress increases or a new disagreement occurs.
- Do not meet separately with people in conflict, and leave it at that. It’s good to understand each side’s point of view. It’s even better to bring the individuals together to facilitate communication between the two individuals to help them understand the impact that one is having on the other.
- You can’t force people to like each other, but you definitely can contend for a respectful work environment. Keep in mind that this is one hurdle you will likely never jump over if you don’t lead by example.
- Remember, the participants are not the only ones affected by the conflict. Everyone is influenced by the tension! People feel as if they are walking on egg shells in the presence of the antagonist. Your team members may take sides and cause division in your organization.
- Do not allow problem employees (those negative instigators) to overpower your organization. After you’ve done all that you can to coach and counsel those individuals, consider parting ways with them.
An organization is better equipped to handle conflict if it has laid a strong foundation. Working in a way that builds harmony can be learned both at the individual and group level. The key is practice! Extinguishing dysfunctional patterns and habits, and replacing them with new ones that reflect the company’s values will result in a harmonious workplace.