Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies
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One way to decrease employee conflict is to encourage stronger relationships among employees. Team members build stronger bonds when they have common ground, through either shared interests or similar experiences. Anything that helps co-workers relate to one another is useful in team building, so use what you can to create shared experiences that may lessen the impact of problems in the future.

A good, proactive way to get employees to create and maintain relationships is to provide opportunities for them to interact on both professional and personal levels. Often the most successful team-building exercises involve everyone learning something new about themselves and their co-workers. Learning something new can shed a fresh light on how people view each other and, ultimately, how they interact with each other.

When planning team-building exercises, take into account that you probably have a variety of likes and dislikes on the team and make a few compromises to accommodate the group as a whole. A ropes course may not be the best idea for an employee who has a fear of heights, but you can arrange for her to cheer the rest of the group on and participate in the team-building exercises that take place on the ground.

Be careful about requesting off-hours time from your employees. Planning a group event like a weekend picnic or a night out can give the employees a non-work-related task to collaborate on, but it can also demonstrate how “management” has no clue about the demands they place on staff and their families.

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Vivian Scott is a Certified Mediator in private practice and a retired Microsoft marketing manager. She is a member of the Washington Mediation Association and volunteers as a mediator at the Dispute Resolution Center of Snohomish & Island Counties.

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