How to Overcome Mistrust & Tension in the Workplace

Tension at work can cause major stress
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It's not uncommon for personalities to clash and tension to arise in the workplace. When a group of individuals from different walks of life come together to share ideas, the result is a diverse workforce that yields a variety of cultures and talents. Usually the result is increased productivity and creativity, but it can also result in mistrust and tension. According to the Fairleigh Dickinson University, three out of four workers describe their job as being stressful.

Define Responsibilities

    Provide detailed instructions on team and individual responsibilities. Each person at work should know exactly what she should be doing at all times. This can reduce miscommunication between employees and management, which often generates a lack of mistrust. Clearly define goals, team projects, deadlines and plans so there is no question what everyone's role is. This helps reduce gossip and finger-pointing, which can also prevent tension among co-workers.

Build Teams

    Create team-building exercises for the next company meeting. Make a list of employee characteristics. Have employees walk around the room speaking to other employees to match characteristics to a person. This type of scavenger hunt encourages individuals to talk to one another, which can build cohesion between the group. Invite employees to a company picnic or have luncheons together. Provide activities other than work, which help individual's interact with one another to improve relationships.

Address Issues

    Watch workers interacting with one another. Look for signs of mistrust and tension in teams. For example, look for employees who constantly talk about others, or those who seem to want to cause problems. Schedule a meeting to speak face-to-face with the disgruntled workers. When one or more people express dissatisfaction, it can often hurt morale and cause others to begin to have problems. Address the issues immediately before they escalate.

Improve Communications

    Encourage employees to come to you when there is a problem. Create an open-door policy within the workplace, which allows employees to come to talk about issues without fear of retaliation. Ask for opinions on how things can improve, and follow through with these suggestions. Post notices on the company bulletin board about the policy, and send it out in an email. Allow employees to express their opinions with the confidence they will be heard.

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