Team Building: Minimizing Conflict in the Workplace - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Team Building: Minimizing Conflict in the Workplace

While conflict is inevitable and a normal part of life, you obviously want to minimize it as much as possible in the workplace so you can keep your lawn care or landscape company running smoothly.

Not only does reducing conflict help your company operate efficiently but it also improves your company culture and workplace morale when your employees are spared from unnecessary frustration, stress and anger. Check out some tools and methods to help prevent unnecessary conflict from occurring.

Provide Written Policies

Assuming everyone knows their job responsibilities, or the proper chain of command is just asking for misunderstandings. Take the confusion out of the situation and provide clearly defined job descriptions. Make it known publicly what behavior will and won’t be tolerated. By having predetermined procedures and consequences you can minimize conflict in the workplace. You should also have a written HR policy about how workplace conflicts are solved. Include provisions to prohibit retaliation against employees who raise concerns about an issue.

Strong Leadership

By having a good leadership team in place, they will not tolerate poor behavior from employees or ignore problems that will damage employee relations. The leadership team should intervene when necessary and deal with conflicts quickly. This team should also spend time identifying and understanding natural tensions and work to proactively deal with these sources of conflict.

When employees come to the leadership team about an issue, they should truly listen to what is being said. Often conflict can occur when two parties are talking to each other, but neither is listening to what points the other is making.

Careful Hiring

It’s important to work to find employees who are a good fit for your organization. While experience and education are keys to hiring, the individual’s demeanor and communication style also play a part in their success at your company. Someone who cannot or will not cooperate in a team setting is likely to stir up problems on your crews. Conduct behavior-based interview questions when talking with candidates.

Personality makes an impact on how a new employee interacts with the rest of your team. Make sure the people you are adding will enhance the existing team dynamic, not undermine it. Considering what type of person has been successful in the role before can help you determine what personality is needed.

Good Communication

Just like how written policies can help clear up misunderstandings before they happen, having good communication can reduce frustration in your company. Managers should be trained to give complete, specific assignments. Unclear expectations can result in each employee having a different way of accomplishing a task that could cause conflict with other team members.

Another good practice is to check your tone in your emails, which can be challenging. Something that might come across as witty in person can be read as rude in an email. Make sure your messages align with your intention and ensure your communication is constructive, not condescending.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.