When does communication tend to break down most? During times of conflict. That is true of our personal relationships with loved ones and is equally true in the workplace. What can you do to support your organization and employees during times of conflict and communication breakdowns? You can train your employees and you can adopt a workplace conflict resolution program.
Almost any human resources seminar you go to these days has a 45 or 60 minute session on conflict management. The sessions are usually standing room only, so I know that conflict is a challenge for many organizations. Those sessions are a good start but they aren’t enough.
Conflict resolution is a skill just as time management, critical thinking, organization and leadership are skills in the workplace.
A 45 minute break out session doesn’t delve deep enough for an individual to grasp and practice the skill of conflict resolution.
The training program I use as a certified trainer provides the attendees with many opportunities during the day-long training to role play and apply the skills and tools they are learning. As with any skill, practice makes perfect. It is only when attendees apply their skills during the practice sessions that they begin to develop a more concrete understanding of some of the challenges they will encounter in conflict resolution.
If your organization is taking steps to create a healthier, more productive workplace culture, a workplace conflict resolution program should be part of your considerations.
Creating a conflict resolution program in your workplace isn’t difficult. It will require policy drafting, training, buy-in from the people at the highest level, and follow through.
The investment in creating such a program will be modest and the benefits have the potential not only to minimize the cost of conflict but to maximize the creative power of conflict within your organization. Don’t underestimate the damage that conflict can have within an organization. A proactive approach that supports early resolution of conflicts is well worth the investment.