How to De-Escalate Conflict in a High-Pressure Work Environment

Going to work every day can be stressful, no matter what type of business you are in. However, some work environments are more high-pressure than others. People who work in high-stress jobs are more inclined to become aggressive when they have conflicts with their coworkers or management. If you manage workers in a high-pressure environment, it is important to know how to handle disputes and potentially dangerous situations in the office.



Some Examples of High-Pressure Jobs

According to the United States Department of Labor, certain jobs are considered very high-pressure. Most of them are low to medium-paying jobs requiring a great deal of patience and a calm demeanor. The top ten most stressful jobs were:

  • Urologist
  • Film Editor
  • Anesthesiologist Assistant
  • Court Room Judge
  • Telephone Customer Service Operator
  • Acute Care Nurse
  • Obstetrician/gynecologist
  • Public Safety Phone Operator (911)
  • Retail Worker Supervisor
  • Nurse Anesthetists

Any company would benefit from some sort of conflict management and de-escalation workshop. However, if you manage employees in one of these stressful professions, you may need advanced de-escalation workshops.

What Will You Learn in A De-Escalation Seminar?

A de-escalation seminar will teach you the mental and emotional reasons why people have conflicts. It will teach you how to recognize the warning signs of a conflict between two workers. Most importantly, it will give you some tools to stop conflicts before they start. It will also teach you how to calm an upset person down before they become violent.

What are The Signs of a Potentially Volatile Person at Work?

There are some signs of a potentially aggressive person that are fairly obvious. If a person is consistently arguing with management, gets red in the face, raises their voice, or makes exaggerated hand gestures, it is a good sign that they are becoming aggressive.

Some signs are not as obvious as others. If a person seems sullen, they may eventually become aggressive. If someone looks like they haven’t slept, or if they become withdrawn when you try to constructively criticize their work, they may be feeling resentful towards the company.

If you have an employee that you believe may become aggressive or pose a threat to other people, it is important to talk to them and find out what they are feeling.

Without the proper training, a manager may become too emotionally involved when speaking to an upset employee. De-escalation training will teach you how to remain calm and take a comforting tone with someone who may be very upset.

A manager might be perceived as too aggressive if they interrupt an upset employee who is making a complaint. They might make a situation worse if their body language is perceived to be aggressive or if they say something that comes across as judgemental.

Other Kinds of Conflict at Work

Not all work conflicts are violent. In some cases, discrepancies between coworkers can cause reduced productivity and morale. It is important to have a protocol for when coworkers in a high-stress job do not get along. There are a few different signs indicating that a team is not working together the way they should.

If there is suddenly a very high turnover rate in your department, it is a sure sign that coworkers are dissatisfied. Exit interviews are very important in determining why a worker is not happy in their position.

If you notice the quality of your team’s work going downhill, it may be indicative of a problem between teammates. When employees do not communicate well, they will often waste time during meetings. They will not have meaningful discussions, and the conversation may seem awkward.

If a worker who previously contributed their thoughts and ideas in meetings is suddenly silent, it may be because they are having a problem with their coworkers. When a very social employee suddenly avoids company activities, there may be a conflict between that worker and another employee.

Mediating a Conflict Between Coworkers

You count on your team to work together to make your customers or clients satisfied and keep your operations running smoothly. If your employees are in conflict, you will not be able to achieve these goals.

There are a few things a manager can do to negate problems between coworkers. The first thing you should do is meet with each person individually to try to determine the root of the problem.

Talking to people on an individual basis will allow you to assess the severity of the situation. You should also have a meeting with everyone. Try to see how they interact and what their strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to communication.

It is important to have an open-door policy so employees can feel comfortable coming to you to talk. When somebody complains about a coworker, is very important to document their complaint.

Not documenting interactions you have with employees can get you in legal hot water. It is important to stay compliant with your company’s rules and the labor laws in your state when dealing with any kind of conflict between coworkers.

Why You Need Professional De-Escalation Training

Both conflict resolution and de-escalation of potentially violent incidents take more skill to handle than you may realize. It is best to hire a professional conflict management company to assist you with setting a protocol for conflict management.

A conflict management class will help you mediate problems between coworkers more effectively. It can also be used to establish that you have taken every precaution you can to avoid a violent situation at work if you are ever sued over a violent incident. You and your coworkers work hard every day to make sure your company is successful and your customers are satisfied. You do not want to throw everything you have worked for away because of what should be a manageable problem. Conflict resolution management will teach you how to view problems between coworkers objectively so you can focus on the business of doing business.

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