No matter what you do for a living, at some point, you’re going to have to work with somebody else to get things done. Knowing how to work as a team is a critical skill. According to the Hawthorne Studies, published in 1939, employee participation improved job satisfaction more than short-term incentives. It’s imperative to value how employees relate to a business and work as part of a team.
Excellent teamwork remains critical to business success. The ability to communicate and work as a team is even more necessary in an era of remote working. Communicating via email, messaging, phone, online meetings and in-person can result in confusion and misunderstandings. So, preventing conflict between employees is more challenging and more important than ever.
Here are 5 strategies to implement to build stronger teams and work with happier and more productive employees.
Preventing conflict happens the moment you meet a potential employee. If your company is clear about what is expected of new hires, who they will be working with, and where, this avoids possible disappointments. The candidate is likely to become a happier employee when they start work if everything is clear from your end.
Experience and qualifications help people do the work they have been assigned, but don’t forget to take your business’s culture into account as well. If you hire someone who does not share your business’s vision, values, and goals, you’re setting yourself up for conflict. Likewise, consider whether your potential new employees will fit in with the corporate style of your existing team.
Flexibility is a critical skill to look for when recruiting and something to be cultivated while onboarding and working. Modern businesses operate in a fast-paced world where major shifts may be required quickly to stay profitable. Hiring people who are willing and able to adapt can prevent conflict when employees’ roles and expectations change.
The onboarding process itself is critical to preventing conflict. Onboarding is everything it takes to help a new member of staff settle in and become part of the team. There is no reason why an onboarding process shouldn’t take several months, with regular checks to see how the employee is doing. These regular interviews can help uncover and remove potential sources of conflict that might otherwise have led to unhappiness, inefficiency, and higher employee turnover.
Conflicts can be diffused or prevented entirely by identifying and celebrating both differences and things in common between your employees. One factor leading to conflict is a sense of people’s otherness. So making your diverse team feel more like family should help prevent conflict.
One way to do this is by celebrating employee birthdays in the workplace. And you can make a point of acknowledging people’s shared locations and interests. You can find this kind of information through Nuwber for example. Use it to help your employees see the commonalities between each other and enjoy moments together.
They might appreciate the creation of a club or society that reflects their interests. A regular get-together for employees or a perk at a relevant business (such as a discount for a gym membership) can help build a sense of identity and demonstrate that the firm sees and appreciates its workers.
Emotional intelligence is a soft skill that is considered to be increasingly important. This is unsurprising since it helps people:
- express themselves,
- listen to others,
- understand cultural differences,
- diffuse aggression.
All these skills can help a business grow and be more efficient and a happier place to work.
To prevent conflict, it would be wise to see that at least all leaders receive EI training. According to emotional intelligence coach Svetlana Whitener, emotional intelligence has a profound impact on everything we do. It makes us more understanding of people around us and leads to “more beneficial actions and interactions.”
Control of one’s work and job satisfaction are key to employees’ self-worth. If they understand their contribution to the enterprise, they will be happier in their work. Feeling underappreciated or that their role is meaningless is a major source of conflict.
Therefore, try to give up any tendencies to micromanage a project. Instead, try working out the result you want and giving your employees freedom to make their own decisions about how to achieve it. Aim to inspire collaboration rather than exercise control. And encourage your employees to see themselves as essential components of your business moving toward shared goals. This can help prevent people from becoming too self-interested and erecting boundaries around themselves and their work.
Rumors spread misinformation and can lead to disgruntled staff and conflict. By having a transparent leadership style, your business is likely to have employees who know their value and share the company’s goals.
You need to be approachable for people to come to you with conflicts. This means welcoming ideas, suggestions, and queries. You might achieve this by having an anonymous suggestion box, open hours when people can visit you, or simply being a manager who listens and takes the time for his team.
A bonus of an open leadership style is that you will not only learn about and prevent conflicts, but your staff will be more engaged in improving the business, which is great for everyone: leaders, employees, and clients or customers.
Most of us spend a significant portion of our lives at work. Let’s not waste time arguing. Let’s make our work time productive and fulfilling. Rather than waiting for conflicts to arise and then trying to do something about them, put energy into preventative strategies to keep your teams running more smoothly.
Exercise these 5 strategies before you employ another member of staff. With proper techniques to prevent conflict, your business should run more efficiently and may become more attractive to candidates, customers, and potential business partners.