Disputes are common to most workplaces. No two human beings are alike; therefore, it's not surprising that people often disagree, and these disagreements can lead to conflicts. Disputes and conflicts occur in almost every workplace, including the cleaning industry.
In the cleaning industry, a difference of opinion, preference for a particular style of cleaning, and misunderstanding between team members are the leading cause of employee conflicts. Although they sound like a nuisance, if handled correctly, office disagreements can enhance the creativity and growth of an organization.
Dr. Carter McNamara, PhD claims that disputes address problems, motivate the workers to do better, and also help the managers to learn from the difference of opinions. On the other hand, if managed incorrectly, workplace conflicts can reduce the productivity and profitability of an organization.
In this article, we will discuss the most common causes of workplace disputes in the cleaning industry, along with some practical tips on how managers can mediate them successfully.
Common Causes of Workplace Dispute
Most workplaces disputes can be categorized into the following:
- Relationship Conflicts: Disputes that occur when personal feelings are aggrieved. For instance, if a colleague insults another colleague, raises their voice, bullies, or undermines their authority.
- Task Conflicts: disputes over what should be the team/department/organizational goal.
- Process Conflicts: disagreements about How. Employees (usually members of a team) disagree on how the goals should be achieved.
- Status Conflicts: Disagreement about Who. Employee disagrees about who should be in charge. Status conflicts occur when organizational/team hierarchy is unclear.
A dispute only becomes problematic when not effectively managed in time. Therefore, a manager must be equipped to deal with workplace conflicts. Here are 10 meditative techniques that managers can use to resolve workplace disputes effectively:
Determine the Root Cause of the Conflict
First things first, managers must determine the root cause of the conflict so as to choose the right language to address the conflict. As mentioned above, conflict can stem from personal, task, process, or status issues. Therefore, it's essential to identify the cause so the manager can choose the right meditative technique to address the problem.
Think of it as a disease; taking aspirin for stomach ache is not going to do anything for you. The doctor needs to diagnose the disease to prescribe medicine. The same is the case here; the manager must identify the problem to determine which meditative technique will be most suitable.
Choose the Right Words
The selection of words for mediating a dispute is critical. A disagreement often starts as a difference of opinions regarding the right approach, but incorrect words can make it personal. Personal conflicts are harder to resolve, and they reduce employee productivity. Hence, managers must ensure the use of appropriate language during the conflict.
Moreover, a manager must appear unbiased and fair. Therefore, their words should show the employees that the manager:
- Understand the issue
- Cares about the issue
- Genuinely interested in the resolution of the issue
For instance, the manager should use expressive phrases such as "I feel you are thinking..." or "I would suggest you to ..., May I…" to participate at both professional and personal levels.
Listen to Both Parties
The lack of communication is one of the most significant reasons for workplace disputes. So, the manager must listen to both parties to know their perspective. Additionally, a manager should make it easy for them to share what they are thinking without hesitation.
Reduce the Intensity of the Conflict
A great way to manage conflict is to provide an environment in which both parties are willing to listen and participate in the discussion. If the aggrieved employees refuse to listen to each other, they won't be able to understand each other's point of view, and the argument would never resolve.
Therefore, it's essential to create policies, protocols, and procedures which bring the conflicting parties to the discussion table. For instance, at carpet cleaning Westminster, a professional cleaning service in the UK, any workplace dispute is reported immediately to the team lead who calls in both parties for an official hearing as soon as possible.
The team lead listens to both arguments, asks relevant questions, and makes both parties see each other's point of view to arrive at a consensus. Mediating quickly resolves half the problem, as it saves the conflict from becoming heated and personal.
Never Attack Personally
The Manager should ensure that the focus remains on the disagreement regarding work procedures, rather than personal attacks. The conversation should be solution-focused; both parties should only speak about the problem and the main point of dispute.
Ask Descriptive and Direct Questions
The best way to resolve a dispute is to ask a lot of descriptive questions about the incident or dispute at issue. Ask relevant and direct questions from the disputed parties. Note down the list of questions that would help you to extract enough information and reach to a point. To get real information, you should not argue back to the answers you get. This strategy makes the employee less defensive and lets you get what you want.
Give Ample Time for Discussions
A manager should give employees as much time as they need to resolve the issue. Encourage them to share their point of view. Rules should be outlined that when one person is speaking at a time, and the other manager is strictly asked not to interrupt in the middle. This uninterrupted discussion lets both parties understand the exact issue.
A manager should always be impartial and unbiased. Remaining unbiased and avoiding favoritism is a vital mediation technique for resolving the dispute. If this happens, the dispute will not come to an end.
Encourage Employees to Have A Positive Approach
A negative and stubborn attitude would get you nowhere. A manager must encourage positivity in their team members for a productive solution. Managers must also initiate work ethics and team building as a part of their training sessions.
Discuss How to Avoid A Similar Situation in Future
When you succeed in resolving a conflict between two employees, it is time for you to think about how to avoid a similar situation from occurring in the future. Depending on the nature of the conflict, you can do the following:
- Improve conflict reporting procedures in the organization
- Encourage employees to come to you if they have any grievances immediately
- Make sure that team hierarchy is clear
- Make sure that all team members know their tasks
- Workplace procedures should be clear to everyone
When people from different backgrounds work together in the same workplace, disputes are not surprising. A dispute becomes problematic if not handled in time. Hence, a manager must immediately address the conflict to arrive at a productive solution.