Workplace conflicts can often be a bit frightening for large-scale organizations. When conflicts arise, they could lead to adverse consequences, such as lawsuits, legal action, property damage, and a negative brand reputation.
However, a company’s typical approach to conflict resolution is to either ignore the problem until it goes away (or gets worse) or remove one or more people that may be causing issues.
Unfortunately, this kind of conflict resolution is antithetical to growth and success within the company. While it makes sense from an HR perspective to quash conflicts as soon as they erupt (or before), there’s actually a better option: conflict resolution training.
Best of all, investing in training can yield some incredible growth benefits as well. In many cases, this can serve as a catalyst for positive changes and adjustments within the company.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at conflict resolution training and how it can work well for your organization.
What is Conflict Resolution Training?
This type of training is a process of identifying, managing, and resolving conflicts that occur within the workplace. This training may be far more necessary than you realize, as up to 85 percent of workers report engaging in conflicts on the job. Even worse, those conflicts can lead to productivity losses of about $359 billion annually.
So, if you’re not ready to invest in training now, you could wind up spending a lot more on losses later. But what exactly is involved in this process? Here’s a quick overview of the various components.
Individuals can show that they’re gearing up for a conflict long before anything happens. Verbal and non-verbal signs can include elements like angry expressions, defensive body language, aggressive motions, and more.
By being able to recognize these elements early on, trainees can know when and how to step in and mitigate the situation before it escalates into a major problem.
Mitigating or Managing Conflict
Once a trainee knows who is involved in a potential conflict (or one that has already escalated), they need to figure out why. This stage of conflict resolution involves talking with each party and seeing what occurred from their point of view.
Since points of view are biased and can omit specific details, it’s imperative for a conflict resolution trainee to be as objective as possible during the entire process. Making assumptions and taking statements at face value can weaken the results and lead to more conflict down the road.
The actual resolution is when both parties agree to specific terms moving forward. It’s up to the objective third-party mediator (i.e., the trainee) to come up with a solution that works for everyone involved.
Sometimes, the best solution is to keep these people apart as much as possible. Another solution could be organizational change to prevent these conditions from happening again.
Because conflict resolution often involves other people, the best trainees are those who are authorized to make such changes. Otherwise, they need to be able to recommend resolutions to those in charge and have those suggestions taken seriously.
If conflict resolution is not a core component of the business’s operations, conflicts could worsen and lead to substantial consequences (i.e., lawsuits, strikes, worker shortages, etc.).
How Can Training Help With Organizational Growth?
Fortunately, investing in conflict training can help a business get ahead of any problems and become more productive. Even if conflicts aren’t occurring, the value of this training is learning how to get people to work together more cohesively.
Here are some of the tangible ways that training can be a catalyst for organizational growth and change.
Learning How to Recognize and Manage Conflicts Before They Erupt
Overall, it’s never good to be “behind the eight ball” when dealing with workplace conflicts. Also, it’s imperative that these conflicts can occur between anyone – co-workers, managers, and even clients.
Those who experience conflict resolution training can spot potential issues and step in before they get out of control. Even internal conflicts can have numerous unintended side effects.
For example, if two co-workers don’t like each other, it’s more than likely that everyone around them already knows of the issue. If a supervisor or manager doesn’t step in until a fight breaks out, that sends a message to everyone else.
Conversely, if a trainee learns of the conflict brewing and steps in immediately, it shows other workers that the company cares about the well-being of its employees. When that message resonates within the workforce, people are more likely to pay attention and speak up when something else happens.
Building a More Communicative Workforce
Communication is a fundamental aspect of conflict resolution. If individuals can’t discuss what happened, why it happened, and how it’s affecting them, it’s impossible to discover a solution.
Because conflict resolution trainees should be in management or supervisory positions, they can take their training and expand it to the rest of the workforce. By learning how to communicate more effectively, supervisors can foster a more open and transparent workplace.
Over time, employees will learn how to speak to each other, to customers, and to managers better. By fostering and encouraging this communication, trainees can ensure long-term growth and success for the company at large.
Opening Communication Channels Between Departments and Management Levels
There’s a tendency for large-scale organizations to silo their departments and teams. One of the most common (and most costly) examples is the disconnect between marketing and sales.
However, productivity cannot happen in a vacuum, and a lack of communication can invariably lead to conflict. For example, if teams are only communicating via direct messages or emails, they may impart negative connotations or emotions behind certain messages.
Over time, these discrepancies can lead to resentment or animosity between departments and managers. When no one is communicating clearly and effectively, everyone loses.
So, it’s imperative for conflict resolution trainees to try and open the lines of communication as much as possible. They will learn how to present ideas and how to train others to avoid potential adverse reactions to text-based messages.
Improving Workplace Conditions for Employees
When employees feel unheard or disrespected, they become resentful and less productive. Additionally, seeing conflicts unfold at the workplace can make it so that individual workers don’t want to come in. When this happens, they’re more likely to call out or use PTO to avoid confronting co-workers.
Effective conflict resolution and management foster a positive and rewarding environment for all employees. When individuals feel like they can file a complaint and it will be taken seriously, they feel more like they’re part of a team.
Overall, the goal isn’t to prevent conflict altogether. Instead, it’s learning how to turn that conflict into something constructive and positive for the company. When that happens, workers are more content and productive.
Making Teams More Collaborative
A natural byproduct of communication is collaboration. As conflict resolution trainees help break down communication barriers between individuals and departments, growth is sure to follow.
A company cannot grow without developing new ideas and processes to facilitate that growth. When everyone is invited to collaborate, these ideas can flourish and lead to massive positive changes for the organization.
It’s also imperative for trainees to foster open collaboration between employees, managers, and executives. This way, it’s much easier for new ideas to go through the chain of command and the approval and support they need to happen.
How to Implement Conflict Resolution Training With a Growth Mindset
Knowing the benefits of conflict resolution training is one thing; implementing this training is another. Here are the steps to follow to ensure you can get the best growth results possible:
Step One: Know Your Goals
Do you want your teams to be more productive and more collaborative? Do you want better communication between teams and departments? Do you want customer-facing employees to know how to interact better with clients?
Having specific goals in mind will ensure that you can tailor the training to meet those needs. While there are specific elements required of the training no matter what, you can ask for a special focus on components like open communication or positive body language.
Step Two: Target Specific Trainees
As we mentioned, having supervisors and managers go through conflict resolution training is ideal. This way, they can implement the training ideas more easily and without having to seek as much approval from higher-ups.
It’s also imperative to look at where conflicts are originating from the most (or have the most potential to). These departments should be your primary focus and then you can find trainees from other teams afterward.
Step Three: Use Customized Training Programs
Don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to training. Fortunately, Pollack Peacebuilding Systems works with you to ensure you get the training you need for your specific situation. We’ll discuss ideas and generate a training program to help you reach your unique goals.
Step Four: Monitor and Update Your Training as Needed
There’s also a tendency to assume that a single round of training is enough. Unfortunately, tactics and methods require constant practice to ensure they aren’t forgotten or implemented incorrectly.
So, you have to develop a long-term training strategy. This may involve re-training sessions, check-in sessions, and more.
Get Better Training From Pollack Peacebuilding Systems
Pollack Peacebuilding Systems is proud to work with some of the largest companies in the world. We know what it takes to train your staff on conflict resolution, and we can customize our training to fit your needs. Contact us today to find out more.