April 12, 2011
Elizabeth Hall, Editor
(800) 543-2055 (703) 904-8000
How to manage workplace conflict and resolve employee disputes
Free, updated report from Business Management Daily now available: Workplace Conflict Resolution: 10 ways to manage employee conflict and improve office communication, the workplace environment and team productivity.
(Falls Church, Va.)— Disputes between employees are common and inevitable. But if left unresolved, employee disputes can disrupt your department’s productivity, sap morale, cause good employees to quit and even spark lawsuits.
Supervisors and managers don’t need to become certified mediators to settle disputes and avoid lawsuits. They just need to understand some basics about human behavior and be aware that all employees bring their personal histories to the workplace including: gender, culture, race, past employment experiences, upbringing, etc. . Managers must practice the fine art of “active” listening and know how to serve as neutral parties to resolve conflicts. While good managers empower employees to resolve most disputes on their own, they also know when to step in to avoid potential legal issues. BMD's new free report offers excellent advice for both supervisors and workers.
The new edition of Business Management Daily’s free report, Workplace Conflict Resolution: 10 ways to manage employee conflict, contains Q&A with common real-life problems and the professional advice to solve them. Expert advice comes from nationally syndicated workplace columnist Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D. McIntyre frequently writes on dealing with conflict and difficult people. She is also author of Secrets to Winning at Office Politics. She reminds us that office “bullies” can also feel “bullied” themselves by unreasonable sales goals, pressure to produce, perceptions that they are being “set up to fail,” etc.
The report also takes a new look at old advice from Deborah Tannen, Georgetown University professor of linguistics and author of Talking from 9-to-5: Women and Men at Work. Tannen points out that often certain gender and cultural differences may look like “conflict,” but they may be simply different communication styles that unintentionally frustrate others. She observes that, while many people—especially women—work to avoid conflict, some people “see conflict as a necessary means by which status is negotiated, so it is to be accepted and may even be sought, embraced and enjoyed.”
According to Tannen’s research, many women prefer to talk in an inclusive manner that is meant to build community (“rapport talk”). This may seem at odds with the preferred speaking style of many men who prefer to quickly get to the point (i.e., “report talk”). Neither way is right or wrong —just different. But it is easy to see how one speaker might be labeled “meandering” and the other labeled “impatient” to someone with the opposite style.
Tannen also warns about “metamessages” in conflict resolution. Managers should be aware that, for example, a proposed solution that involves asking one co-worker to help another may contain an unintended metamessage such as “She’s more competent than you.”
Managers and “worker bees” alike can do their co-workers a great service by downloading and sharing this free report and following its advice. It’s never too late to get battling co-workers to start working as a team. Access this free report to meet your organization’s goals for a more productive workplace. Download it here.
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