Keywords: Communication in the Workplace, Coworker Conflict Name: Ty Blog: Insights 4 Tips for Managing Communication in the Workplace   It is common knowledge to allow communication to occur naturally between coworkers about their feelings and work out a solution on their own. However, there are times when, as a manager, you should intervene. Coworker conflict and bad communication in the workplace can cause poor performance of the employees involved, a poor image of your company online (due to the offending employees posting on personal websites), and a high turnover rate if left unaddressed. Here are some cues to help you know if the time is right to step in, and ways to deal with issues that arise when personal conflicts are affecting your team’s effectiveness:
  • First, and probably most obvious, is asking for an invitation to help if your employees seem incapable of coming to a resolution on their own. Mention that you’ve noticed a difficulty or issue, and then offer a question, such as, “Do you think you can solve this matter by ‘this date’/’this situation’, or do we need to bring in an objective outsider to help?” to keep communication flowing. Involve HR as necessary, which could be used as an independent mediator, to put difficult employees on notice or probation, or to begin the process of transferring the troublemakers to another department or location. Also, alert your boss to the situation so that they’re not blindsided by any necessary disciplinary actions now or in the future.
  • Refuse to take sides and make it clear that you are working for the benefit of both employees. Speak to them separately, and pass along any compliments or complaints between them. Remember, good communication is key, and your goal is to help them see the merits in each other’s viewpoint. Advocate an environment of respect, tolerance, and civility in the office.
  • Point out any miscommunications or misconceptions that may have been garnered due to poor communication. Invalid assumptions and misjudged intentions lead to inappropriate conclusions, and it is your job to keep the lines of communication open and avoid having to get involved before the issue grows out of hand.
  • Implement a team analysis assessment solution to help you identify the dynamics of your team, which highlights areas that may become an issue. Solutions such as The Profiles Performance Indicator™ can help you reduce team conflict, improve communication, and improve a team’s ability to anticipate problems.
Practicing good communication in the workplace is the most important asset to avoiding and dealing with coworker conflict. As a manager, be sure to keep an open-door policy so that employees can voice their concerns before the issue gets out of hand. As a team member, be an adult. Communicate your issues with your coworkers. Odds are the issue is nothing more than a case of miscommunication.