How to Avoid Conflict in Small Business Teams
While workplace conflicts can happen in any organization, they are especially challenging for a small business. One of the reasons for this is that small businesses can’t afford any disruption to work. In addition, they might not have the resources to deal with the conflict. The solution to this problem is to avoid conflicts. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
Educate Your Employees
One of the best ways to avoid conflicts in the workplace is to educate your employees about the collective and individual benefits of communication, cooperation, and coordination within the organization. For example, you can make it mandatory for all employees to attend periodic training sessions that highlight the importance of avoiding tensions and how to resolve conflicts without disrupting work.
While you don’t want your employees to feel that they are on their own when it comes to resolving their conflicts, you do want to encourage them to find solutions to the problem themselves.
Clearly Define Roles and Expectations
Workplace conflicts mostly occur in organizations where employees are frustrated, neglected, or confused about their roles. Clearly defining roles and expectations can go a long way in keeping your employees happy and minimizing the chances of conflicts.
To help define roles, provide employees with all the relevant information and resources to understand their roles. While the employees may understand their general job description and responsibilities, they might need guidance on specific projects and tasks.
Practical examples of expectation setting include regular communication between team members and managers on the objective of their tasks. This could include weekly meetings to remind everyone about the expectations. You could also have specific deadlines and a way to provide constructive feedback.
Encourage Open Communication
A lot of workplace conflicts are a result of misunderstanding and poor communication. To avoid conflicts, you can promote a culture of open communication at your workplace. Employees should feel comfortable communicating their concerns with team members and their supervisors.
In some cases, conflicts are the result of a series of incidents or problems that go unresolved. Addressing issues immediately and openly can help avoid conflicts. You need to regularly remind your team members and employees about the importance of open communication. You can do this through company announcements, weekly newsletters, or other modes of communication.
Train Your Managers
A key step to avoid conflicts is having your managers lead by example. Managers need training on how to listen to the employees. Listening is a skill that needs to be practiced. In most cases, if the managers listen to the problems of their team, this can help in successfully de-escalating conflict. Companies often have one on one performance management meetings, and the topic of avoiding and resolving conflicts should be included in the agenda of these meetings.