When it comes to any type of workplace conflict – harassment, bullying or human rights issues – the most important step to take is to take a step. Early intervention is crucial. Inaction is the most costly decision any organization can make.
Keep Your Options Open
Workplaces have many different informal options available to them during the early stages of workplace conflict. However, as conflict intensifies over time, individuals become frustrated and more “entrenched” in their positions.
Contain the Conflict
Early resolution of conflict between two individuals often reduces the chance of that conflict spreading to other parts of the work team, and helps preserve the overall work environment. Prolonged conflict is contagious and often results in long-term, systemic issues for the workplace.
Reduce the Chance of Litigation
Resolving conflict early reduces the chance of formal litigation. Commonly, individuals file formal complaints “in order to be heard”. If this can happen outside the formal process, through early intervention in the workplace, the emotional and financial costs of litigation can be avoided.
These are just a few reasons why supervisors and shop stewards should intervene as soon as they suspect or becomes aware of workplace conflict or dysfunction. Simply put, “waiting it out” is not an option: experience has shown that inaction over time only makes conflict worse.
Contact Marli Rusen to explore the many ways in which unions and management can intervene and work to effectively resolve workplace conflict.
Marli’s online video training on conflict resolution and respectful workplaces.