Conflict seems like an inevitable part of work life to some degree. People aren’t always going to agree with one another or work well together. However, by adjusting strategies related to leadership, communication, and stress management, businesses can move toward a conflict-free workplace and improve overall collaboration.
Much of workplace conflict stems from poor communication. As a leader, if you talk over employees, send out ambiguous emails, or send mixed messages, conflict is bound to happen. Several communication tactics can help you prevent conflict before it happens. First, avoid making assumptions about your team members. Assumptions can lead to miscommunication or even make you come across as condescending. Second, make your communication goal oriented. Define the purpose of your message before you send out a mass email, for example. This will cut down on confusing and extraneous messages. Finally, you can make your method of communication healthier by practicing active listening and using a positive, polite tone. You want employees to feel heard and respected.
Focus on Emotional Intelligence
The source of most workplace conflict is usually emotional. For example, employees may lash out if they are stressed or feel insulted. One way to reduce conflict is to be more aware of your emotions, as well as the emotions of your employees. When you understand how your team members are feeling, you can validate those feeling and address the root of the problem. It’s also important to regulate your own emotions. If you are angry or frustrated, your team will also be angry and frustrated. As a leader, you need to be empathetic and encourage your team to be open about their feelings. If everyone in the office bottles up their emotions, conflict is inevitable.
Act with Urgency
It is important to pay attention to team dynamics. If you sense signs of conflict, don’t hesitate to act. When conflict goes unaddressed, it festers and intensifies. This makes it harder to resolve and more likely to become a recurrent source of workplace tension. As soon as you sense tension, start a dialogue. Encourage the individuals involved to open up about their concerns. By addressing conflict in its earliest phase, you can resolve it before it becomes a major problem.
Too much conflict in the workplace can create an environment that is toxic and unbearable. Most conflict results from stress, miscommunication, and unhealthy emotional responses. Leaders in construction can start to create a more conflict-resistant workplace by improving how they communicate with their employees, practicing active listening, monitoring the emotions of their teams, and acting swiftly when conflict arises.
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