Unresolved conflict and its impact on employee well-being

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Let’s cut to the chase. Employees who are actively in conflict tend to feel a high level of stress, making it difficult for them to perform at their highest level. Employees don’t want to be hindered from doing their best work, nor do leaders want that for their employees! Conflict can quickly ruin a positive culture at work, even if you feel you have a culture of resilience. The negative effects of conflict are apparent in many ways, specifically in:

  • Productivity and performance
  • Motivation
  • Commitment
  • Anxiety levels
  • Mental health
  • Stress levels
  • Concentration levels
  • Engagement levels

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For many, conflict is not comfortable. Some people tend to thrive in situations fueled by conflict, but for many of us this isn’t the case. The comfortable response to conflict tends to be to pretend it’s not there, praying it resolves itself. You likely know that when we do this, conflict tends to escalate, becoming much more costly for everybody involved. Before conflict grows into an unmanageable issue, leaders must address it and appropriately support employees involved, resolving the conflict quickly and effectively. Employee support in conflict will help them improve their mental well-being, reduce sick times, lower costs, and encourage a psychologically safe workplace (Workplace Fairness West).

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How can leaders manage conflict more effectively?

Leaders can manage conflict by doing their best to prevent it in the first place. Begin by fostering an environment of acceptance, respect, and trust to reduce the chances of conflict. Although preventative action will help, beware that conflict is still bound to happen at some point. Placing more importance on developing and implementing a conflict management strategy will go a long way if all leaders hop on board.

Instead of consistently having to react to issues and conflict on the fly, take time to create strategies that can be used for the long run. We all feel constantly busy but carve out some time to be proactive and implement conflict management strategies. It will be well worth it once you do! Put your people first and define effective and collaborative ways to resolve conflict, ready to support employees the best you can. Ensuring employees feel psychologically safe at work should be a top priority for leaders and organizations, because without it there will frequently be conflict and your turnover will be high.

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Don’t let the next bout of conflict derail all the goodness you’re trying to cultivate in your team and workplace! Chat with a CoreCounts Consultant to get on the right track, moving together in the right direction!

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