Ways to Promote Workplace Harmony
Getting along with everyone at work takes some practice. Sometimes office stress can boil over into workplace clashes that hurt productivity. A manager’s goal should never be to avoid or prohibit discord among co-workers.
Instead, conflict resolution techniques help staffers to express frustrations without losing their workplace harmony or their focus on doing what’s right for the company.
Hire people who are going to be team players. Take a look at an applicant’s personality — not just her job skills — during the hiring process. The secretarial candidate who demonstrates excellent word processing and telephone proficiencies might not have the right interpersonal skills, especially patience and maturity, to support a busy department.
A project manager may have outstanding technical skills but not the same vision as your organization. Ask several people to interview each candidate so you get different perspectives on a person’s interpersonal skills. Solicit feedback from each candidate’s job references about how they performed under pressure. You want to make certain a newcomer is going to mesh well with everyone else.
Encourage employees to mingle. A company softball team or a departmental pizza luncheon can go a long way in fostering workplace harmony because co-workers get to know each other better in a relaxed setting. Regular staff meetings also bring value to the workplace.
If your team only assembles during emergencies, the tone of those sessions can feel defensive. Instead, regular team discussions can open the doors for more nonthreatening conversations that help everyone establish better rapport and a greater comfort level.
Coach your employees to recognize that disagreements are normal and healthy, even in a harmonious environment. Many office tensions arise from lack of communication, so one of the first steps to conflict resolution is being an active listener and ensuring that opposing parties have appropriate information.
An effective leader also needs to understand the emotions behind conflict. Pride and jealousy often set off office quarrels, and a useful technique is to try to figure out what each side has to gain as the result of their clash. A manager can be more successful in resolving disputes when she understands what’s in it for everyone.
Set the Example
A helpful step in promoting workplace harmony is to spread some cheer yourself. Smile and offer warm greetings to your colleagues. The daily chatter around the coffee machine lets you learn about your team members’ favorite music, their families and their personal interests. Join your group when they go out for lunch, even if you’re pressed for time.
These friendly interactions make people more comfortable around each other and help build team spirit.