Team Building: How to Deal with Workplace Conflict - National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Team Building: How to Deal with Workplace Conflict

People are bound to disagree at one point or another regardless of the industry they’re in. As a lawn care or landscape company owner, it’s natural for conflict to occur in your business but the important thing is not to ignore it.

Sometimes unaddressed conflicts can result in unproductive gossip, a toxic work atmosphere and even employees quitting. Often by the time the HR department is aware of the problem, it has already escalated. 

Conflict can come in many forms including insults, bullying, anger, and noncooperation. The cause of workplace conflict can vary as well from personality differences, unclarified roles in the workplace, poor communication, or a difference in work methods or goals.

A common misconception is that conflict is only handled by the HR department or managers. However, it is every employee’s responsibility to work to resolve these issues. Below are elements to resolving conflicts effectively.


Keys to Workplace Conflict Resolution


Be Direct

Don’t let disagreements and irritations compound until there’s a major blowup. Talk to the person directly; don’t go over their head to management. Also, don’t assume they know why you’re upset or that you’re upset at all.

Stay Respectful

Focus on the issue at hand, not the person. Try to use “I” statements, rather than “you” statements. Mention specific behaviors and problems rather than attacking the individual. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you and let the argument become personal. Staying calm prevents people from shouting, making offensive comments or blaming one another.

Listen

Every dispute has sides. Sometimes it’s just two. Other times it can be multifaceted. Make sure you carefully listen to what every party has to say. This validates their ideas and lets them know they are being heard, whether you agree with them or not. Avoid interrupting the other person and focus on what they’re saying instead of planning out your response. Repeat what they said to ensure you understood correctly and ask questions to clarify your understanding.

Discuss

Once all sides have been heard summarize the areas of agreement and disagreement. Make sure the other parties agree with that assessment. Brainstorm solutions to areas of conflict and discuss all the possible options. Find common ground and a solution that all parties are satisfied with. Determine what each party is responsible for in implementing the solution.

Learn

Try to determine the root of the conflict and ensure it will not become an issue again in the future. Being proactive and fostering a collaborative, friendly workplace can diminish the frequency and severity of conflict at your company. Within every workplace conflict is an opportunity to learn. Having a diverse team with different outlooks can help you spot areas to improve upon. You want to have an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable bringing up problems.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.

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