Effective Workplace Conflict Resolution Results in Happier and Healthier Employees

Andres Nony
November 22, 2011 — 2,654 views  
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Work is a large part of life for most Americans, and not just because the salary they earn is usually a necessity. A job is a major source of identity, as well as an important source of social interaction for the majority of people. Even if your job is not your passion, it should be a relatively pleasant experience. When it is not, health and happiness suffer.

A conflict-filled work environment is harmful to your health. Many people dream of the day they can retire, and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labor, but the very job that can make that dream possible can also destroy it. Stress from daily work problems can cause headaches, muscle tension, general pain and a sense of being unwell. It results in lowered immunity so that you get more colds, and other minor illnesses, and over the long-term, the cumulative effects of stress can wreak major havoc on your health leading to heart disease, and other serious conditions.

Workplace conflicts are damaging to your well-being. Unresolved conflicts on the job can lead to depression and anxiety. Leaving conflicts to fester leads to a sense of hopelessness that the situation can ever get better, and to a sense of uncertainty as you are never sure of exactly what you will encounter during the work day.

Workplace dissatisfaction interferes with life satisfaction and happiness. It is difficult to find enjoyment in your job when faced with daily conflict, but it is even more disheartening when the dread of going to work, and thinking of past conflicts interferes with the rest of your life, including time with your family.

Avoid conflict, if possible. Don't sweat the small stuff. If you are someone who has the tendency to take things personally or let small things annoy you, look for ways to ignore the problem behaviors of other people. As a supervisor, help employees who have this personality type brainstorm ways to ignore small incidents that do not cause significant problems. Have clear expectations. Conflict often arises because of different views on how something should be done, or what is acceptable. Try to accept that others may have their own way of doing things, and try for consensus, if there has to be only one way. If you're the boss and do have the final say, spell out expectations and don't assume that everyone will automatically see your way of wanting it done.

When it does occur, workplace conflict resolution is essential. For your own well-being, do not simply let workplace conflicts go unresolved. Identify the problem. Try to clearly define the problem from your side, and then try to see it from the other person's point-of-view. If you are trying to resolve conflict between others, speak to each person individually to get a clear picture. Look for solutions. If a third party, it may be easy to see a solution once you understand the problem. If you are a part of the conflict, it probably will not but you can try to see ways that you can modify your own behavior so you do not have to rely on the others' cooperation..

While some people thrive on conflict, for most this is a major source of stress. To put it bluntly, most people want themselves and their colleagues to be happy at work. Workplace stress causes health problems, both in the short-term and over time. It significantly undermines mental health, and decreases happiness, even when not at work. Workplace conflict resolution is one of the most effective things a manager can do to create an efficient, happy and healthy work environment. But it's not just a manager's responsibility. Taking steps to resolve conflicts and where you can be happy at work.




Andres Nony