When I receive calls from corporations for help dealing with workplace conflict situations, I start with the obvious question: “What have you tried?”
Typically they offered leadership or civility programs expecting the “bad boy or bad girl” to get a clue and start behaving appropriately, or they hired a coach to motivate the bad one to shape up, they have tried threats, sanctions, and transfers. But the conflicts continue. And, that is because these interventions focus on the person who is causing the conflicts.
Workplace Conflict: Who Should Receive Help?
In my experience as a conflict consultant, sometimes best strategy is to work with the supervisor of the person who is causing the conflict. This is because the supervisor can mitigate the conflict IF he or she knows what works and what does not work. A supervisor can change his or her management style, learn new ways to hold the person accountable for their behavior, and can work with other managers and employees to stop participating in the conflicts. This is such an obvious and effective solution, it is cost effective and has long-term positive impact on the organization.
For more information on how to change your behavior to reduce conflict in the workplace, contact Kathleen Bartle.