Are you an HR professional, business owner or manager who is responsible for handling disputes between team members?
You're probably well aware of how ongoing tensions at work can undermine the success of the entire company (not to mention your own sanity!)
But did you know that unresolved conflict is one of the top reasons employees stop caring about their work - or just give up and quit?
☑️ 85% of employees at all levels experience conflict at work
☑️ 1 in 5 employees quit because their manager doesn't understand the challenges they face or the difficulties they're having with other staff
☑️ 43% of non-managers feel their boss is ineffective at handling conflict
☑️ 25% of employees call in sick to avoid conflict with colleagues
☑️ 27% have witnessed workplace tensions escalate into personal attacks
This much is clear: How business leaders deal with conflict in the workplace has a direct impact on employee churn, corporate culture, and potential for growth.
Even basic conflict resolution training can make a huge difference in how staff and teams collaborate.
Here are 3 key ways mangers can benefit from learning how to mediate disputes.
1. Bring Opposing Parties Together for a Mutual "Win"
Instead of ignoring grievances or issuing reprimands, effective managers know how to encourage a dialogue between opposing staff members.
They steer clear of finger-pointing and help both sides feel heard and validated.
Conflict resolution training teaches managers how to uncover the underlying causes of conflict and identify shared interests or goals.
Through coaching and role-playing, courses teach a range of conflict resolution skills, including:
☑️ Techniques for empathetic listening, summarizing, re-framing, and questioning
☑️ Strategies for clarifying issues, establishing an agenda, and helping both parties generate options for resolution
☑️ How to remain impartial and keep negotiations on track
This process is empowering for both sides of the disagreement. The manager doesn't play the role of a judge or jury.
Instead, they guide the parties in conflict to work together toward a mutually beneficial resolution to the problem.
Can conflict resolution training really make that much of a difference? The proof is in the data.
95% of professionals trained in conflict management said it made them more confident and helped them achieve win-win resolutions.
2. Protect Against a Toxic Work Environment
In addition to hurting the parties directly involved, conflicts at work can have a negative trickle-down effect on the entire company.
As tensions grow, the workplace atmosphere becomes "toxic" with unresolved disagreements and boiling resentment.
Left unresolved, conflicts between staff have a direct impact on morale and productivity. Employees are compelled to choose sides, views become entrenched, and communication breaks down.
Performance takes a direct hit as colleagues becomes unwilling to work with one another, or begin avoiding the workplace altogether.
Managers trained in conflict resolution know how to identify early warning signs and intervene before disputes rage out of control.
They don't ignore the problem or wait on the sidelines, hoping it will resolve itself.
Proactive response to conflict sends a clear signal to your team that you care about their well-being, and will work hard to maintain a healthy working environment.
3. Demonstrate Leadership and Inspire Trust
There can be no business growth without competent leadership. Understanding how to identify and help resolve workplace conflicts is key to building trust with employees and earning your stripes as an effective leader.
As the old saying goes, "people don't quit their jobs, they quit their bosses".
Among the top leadership qualities identified by experts, several revolve around conflict resolution and fostering teamwork, such as:
☑️ Open communication to identify and resolve problems before they grow
☑️ Keeping the team aligned toward shared goals
☑️ Maintaining fairness (never playing favourites and giving equal consideration to each employee's views)
☑️ Demonstrating compassion for the challenges employees face
Here's the problem: The ability to mediate conflicts is central to good leadership. So why is training in mediation and dispute resolution rarely a requirement for management jobs?
On the bright side, as data proving the high price of workplace conflict grows, we're starting to see a shift.
Organizations are beginning to include mediation and conflict resolution courses in their corporate professional development plans.
And managers are starting to seek out opportunities to improve their dispute resolution skills through mediation workshops and certificates.
Learn more about conflict resolution courses and certificates
Are you considering conflict resolution training for yourself or your team? Kompass offers a flexible online Mediation and Dispute Resolution certificate, which can be tailored to fit your specific needs.
Whether you're looking for a broad base of mediation skills, or only want to focus on workplace disputes - the training is modular and can be designed around your goals.
Click below for a complete overview of the certificate and to browse individual courses.