Improving conflict resolution skills

Good business management involves effective dispute resolution. Queensland Government research shows up to 30% of a typical manager's time is spent dealing with disputes. A good understanding of each dispute will allow you to take control of the dispute and make an informed decision about the best way to resolve it.

Common causes of workplace conflict

Identifying the most common causes of workplace conflict will help you to predict, prevent or deal with them. The following factors may be the source of conflict involving employees:

  • a breached agreement
  • skills deficits
  • a lack of information or misunderstanding
  • conflicting interests or values
  • discrimination or harassment
  • mental illness
  • personality style
  • scarce resources
  • organisational problems
  • bad (corrupt or fraudulent) intent.

Dispute resolution workshops and training

By developing conflict resolution skills and dispute resolution processes, you can help employees and managers resolve problems early and avoid major disruptions to your business.

You can attend dispute resolution workshops and training, with topics such as:

  • managing difficult behaviours
  • negotiation
  • prevention of bullying
  • mediation
  • managing groups.

Learn more about negotiating successfully.

Training employees to resolve disputes

Staff trained in dispute resolution techniques and good communication skills are less likely to enter into conflicts. They are more likely to ensure agreements between employees and managers about entitlements, roles and responsibilities are well understood and can advise on and help you manage disputes.

Consider appointing an experienced employee with the necessary skills and authority to deal with disputes - particularly complex or escalating disputes.

The person you appoint should be in a position to negotiate and communicate with upper as well as lower management and act as a mediator within your business. They will need to be senior enough to see that disputes are dealt with at an appropriate level, liaise with all necessary staff and implement any changes that emerge from the process.

Keeping accurate records

A breached agreement, lack of information or misunderstanding can cause conflict in the workplace. It is therefore essential to develop a good record keeping system so you can confirm the facts when dealing with a disagreement.

Learn more about record keeping for business.

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