Conflict Resolution Skills in LMS: Fostering Harmony in the Workplace
September, 14 2023
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Conflict can and will happen in any workplace, regardless of how professional it is. What makes a workplace truly professional is how conflict is handled.
Conflict is an inevitable part of the workplace—whether it's a disagreement between colleagues, a clash of ideas in a project team, or a misunderstanding between a manager and an employee, conflicts can arise in various forms and at any time. However, often more important than the conflicts themselves is how they are dealt with. That's where Learning Management Systems (LMS) come into play as, like many other skills, conflict resolution can be something that’s trained and developed. Before workplace conflict can be trained for, however, one needs to understand the types of workplace conflicts.
Understanding Workplace Conflict
Before an LMS can be used to develop conflict resolution skills, it's essential to understand what workplace conflict entails. Just like any other form of conflict, workplace conflicts encompass a wide range of potential problems, pains, or anxieties.
These occur between individuals and are often rooted in differences in personality, communication styles, or personal values. For example, two workers communicating where one always emails versus one always calling getting frustrated with each other for not using their preferred method.
These revolve around differences in work tasks, goals, or approaches to problem-solving. One worker always likes to have a very detailed plan of action where the other makes many ways to solve a problem. Neither are necessarily wrong, but they clash whenever together.
Arise when there's confusion or overlap in job roles and responsibilities. Most people can relate to a feeling of dismissal or being slighted by someone else taking their responsibilities, like that person thinks they know better, despite it rarely being so cut and dry.
Stem from issues like resource allocation, policy disagreements, or changes in company direction. These conflicts tend to happen vertically on the chain but can happen horizontally too. Maybe marketing wants to take messaging one way while sales want another, both have their reasons, but both feel like their goals are being blocked.
The Impact of Workplace Conflict
Just like any other conflicts, unresolved workplace conflicts can have detrimental effects on both individuals, organizations, and the product.
Conflicts often lead to wasted time and energy that could be spent on productive tasks. Ultimately, workers are still human, and people tend to put more time and energy into negative feelings. This leads to less time being spent on the work itself.
Ongoing conflicts can create a negative atmosphere, causing employees to feel demotivated and unhappy. If a worker always feels disrespected, no matter on legitimate that feeling is, why would they keep putting effort into the organization?
Employees may choose to leave an organization with a toxic work environment due to unresolved conflicts, reduced moral, or not feeling respected. High turnover is especially dangerous for an organization because it is so expensive and, without proper conflict resolution skills, may end up repeating.
Conflict can hinder effective collaboration and teamwork, affecting project outcomes, especially if conflict exists between the team members.
Negative health effects:
Prolonged stress from unresolved conflicts can lead to physical and mental health issues. Both of which will further the cycle at work.
Given these potential consequences, organizations must proactively address and resolve conflicts as part of their employee development initiatives.
LMS and Conflict Resolution Skills
Learning Management Systems have become indispensable tools for training and development in organizations. They offer a structured, accessible, and scalable way to deliver training content, including conflict resolution skills.
Accessible Training Modules:
LMS platforms allow organizations to create and host conflict resolution training modules that employees can access at their convenience. This flexibility ensures that employees can learn at their own pace without disrupting their work schedules.
Many LMS systems offer interactive learning features, such as quizzes, simulations, and case studies. These elements engage learners and provide practical scenarios for applying conflict resolution strategies.
Assessment and Progress Tracking:
LMS platforms enable organizations to track employees' progress in conflict resolution training. Assessments and quizzes can gauge employees' understanding and retention of conflict resolution concepts.
Consistency in Training:
LMS ensures consistency in conflict resolution training across the organization. All employees receive the same foundational knowledge and skills, creating a shared understanding of conflict resolution principles.
Skill Application in Real Scenarios:
LMS can simulate real workplace scenarios where employees can practice conflict resolution skills. These simulations provide a safe environment to apply what they've learned before facing real workplace conflicts.
Conflict resolution is an ongoing skill. LMS allows organizations to provide refresher courses and additional resources as employees progress in their careers, ensuring they stay equipped to handle conflicts effectively.
Implementing Conflict Resolution Training in LMS
Now that everything is known, how do organizations go about implementing this training for conflict resolution?
Identify the specific conflict resolution skills needed within your organization through surveys, assessments, or feedback sessions. These should be anonymous as to allow everyone to speak without fear of retribution.
Create comprehensive conflict resolution training modules, covering topics like active listening, communication, empathy, and negotiation.
Include quizzes, role-playing scenarios, and case studies to make the training engaging. Making these scenarios about conflict will also allow the organization to identify the weak or strong points of their current culture.
Assessment and Certification:
Assess employees' understanding and offer certificates upon completion. These records will be invaluable to determine how someone causing conflict should be treated, do they need to be punished or trained?
Feedback and Improvement:
Gather feedback from employees to continually enhance the training program. Again, gather anonymously. Beyond enhancing the training program, this can give an organization a glimpse into the changing culture.
Conflict resolution skills are essential for life in and out of the workplace. Implementing conflict resolution training through an LMS can empower employees to address conflicts effectively, resulting in improved morale, productivity, and overall well-being in an organization. By investing in conflict resolution training, organizations are making a conscious effort to invest in their people.
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