How to Handle Conflict at Work for Small Business

No two employees are the same. Your employees have different backgrounds, experiences, and mindsets. They work at different paces and have varying strengths and weaknesses. A diverse workforce is great for small business, but employee differences can also cause conflict.

How do you handle disagreements? To grow as a leader, you can’t ignore conflict in your workforce. You need to work on resolving team conflict to create a successful work environment.

How to handle conflict at work

Sometimes, dealing with workplace conflict is difficult. But, the better you know how to handle conflict at work, the more efficient your team will be. Take a look at the following issues and how you can manage them at your small business.

#1. Working at different paces

Employees get tasks done at different speeds. Some people on your payroll work faster or slower than others, which can cause conflict in a team. Some of your workers might become frustrated with the varying paces. And, your operations might not run as smoothly as possible when everyone is working on a different timeline.

In business, there is such a thing as working too slow. You need to produce and sell a certain number of products or services to increase your bottom line in business. Working at a slower rate could cost your business.

If employees work slower than an appropriate speed for your operations, check to see what’s going on. The worker might just need an extra push of motivation to pick up the pace. Or, the employee might be struggling with a task and need your help.

An employee’s work might suffer because they think they need to work lightning-fast. Explain to the employee that they can slow down and focus on their tasks. Simple evaluations and conversations often solve time-based issues.

To keep your team coordinated, set deadlines. That way, employees can be team players and know when they are expected to complete work. Tasks progress smoothly when workers can expect completion times.

#2. Different perspectives

A diverse workforce offers many benefits to a small business. You gain new ways of looking at your operations, customers, and problem solving. Different backgrounds can also make the workday more interesting and enjoyable. But, sometimes, conflicts can arise when employees don’t see eye-to-eye.

Often, the issues stem from misunderstandings between employees. Each worker has a different set of experiences that shapes their way of thinking. As a leader in your business, you should help employees share their perspectives with each other.

To promote teamwork in the workplace, hold events that let employees get to know each other. For example, you could host a holiday party or company picnic that aid in resolving team conflict. Employees can see where others are coming from and understand their co-workers’ choices.

#3. Confusion about the brand

Employees are great ambassadors for brand awareness. That is—when they understand your company’s message. If a worker doesn’t get the business’s brand, conflict in a team can happen. Your workforce needs to be on the same page.

In 2012, Gallup asked more than 3,000 randomly-selected workers if they agreed with the statement, “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand(s) different from our competitors.” Twenty-four percent of the participants responded that they disagreed.

The survey data above shows that many workers do not understand their business’s brand. You need to convey your brand to employees so they can function as a team with your company’s values.

Introduce your brand to employees during the onboarding process. Include the brand message in your employee handbook and training practices. Tell your business’s story to your team and get employees involved.

#4. Poor communication

When it comes to a well-organized team, communication is key. Employees need to know how to communicate with each other throughout the workday. But, workers communicate in different ways.

To handle conflict in your team, turn your business into one that welcomes communication. Managing conflict through communication means making employees comfortable with sharing their ideas, feelings, and thoughts. Your team will accomplish more when you work together and foster connections.

Make it easy for employees to communicate with one another. Use team collaboration tools so that employees can share information on the internet. Provide cell phones for workers who work out of the office a lot. Make employee work contact numbers and information available to your team.

In some businesses and industries, you use technical terms. A new employee might not be familiar with the terms your team uses to communicate. It’s important for you to teach new hires the vocabulary they need to know to complete tasks while onboarding.

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