Welcome back to ‘Check the Drama at the Door,’ our ongoing series about preventing workplace conflict and promoting a healthy culture. Over the past few weeks, I have been identifying potentially “triggering” events or issues and turning points at which companies may be able to take steps to avoid strife, boost productivity and loyalty and, one hopes, make their businesses desirable employers. If you missed the last couple of posts, just scroll down. They cover establishing culture, organizational changes, communication improvement, training practices, HR tools, and workplace investigations.
My experience as an independent workplace investigator has given me a bird’s eye view of workplace conflict as it unfolds, and I have been able to spot a few patterns. One pattern is that there always seems to be a singular point in time where the action could have been avoided. I have been posting a series of blog entries that address best practices for conflict prevention and resolution while identifying potentially triggering turning points. This is the sixth and final post of that series.
Turn challenges into opportunities. Disrupt how people think about conflict. Set a tone at the management level: your company welcomes a low level of drama if it means that it will not escalate into full-blown conflict and will lead to an even better workplace culture.
- Use emotional intelligence to work through situations such as those in the examples given throughout this blog series. This means combining logical information (data, performance expectations, etc.) with a human side. A large percentage of conflict arises not because of what was said, but how it was said.
- Use a common-sense approach. Don’t focus on minutia, citing policies, having secretive meetings, or being afraid of having an overly-informed employee base. Instead, hire and retain employees who are committed as well as passionate about your company and about his or her role within the company.
- Keep perspective. When you are in the trenches, dealing with conflict and near-conflict on a daily basis, it’s easy to lose heart. Take a deep breath and remember to use the tools outlined in this series to keep conflict to a minimum.
No organization has a perfect culture. There will always be areas that can be improved upon, and opportunities to stamp out factors that inhibit a healthy, drama free culture. With each HR challenge comes the potential for organizational improvement. I hope that this series ‘Check the Drama at the Door,’ has been both educational and enjoyable for you, but more importantly I hope that it leads to the healthy culture you desire in your workplace. Thanks for reading!