How to Solve Conflict in the Workplace
Conflict in the workplace is defined as one employee or employer having different views and opinions than other people in the office. Conflict in the workplace can have a profound effect on morale, productivity and in worse cases lead to violent crimes, states the University of Florida IFAS Extension.
According to MTD: Management Training Specialists, identifying conflict in the workplace is crucial to prevent it from taking a turn for the worst and getting to the point of no repair 1. Some warning signs that conflict is forming is that employees are demonstrating unhealthy competition. Examples of this could be fighting over information or one employee hiding pertinent research from other team members. Other issues that lead to conflict in the workplace are undefined job descriptions and roles. This causes employees to step on each others toes because they are doing jobs that are not designated to them. Employees not understanding the objective of the business or developing different objectives can also lead to tension and resentment in the office.
Conflict will always exist in a workplace, and this is not always a bad thing. Some conflict is healthy for a business to thrive. It inspires employees and supplies them with a healthy dose of motivation to succeed. To prevent and resolve conflict in the workplace, you must go to the source and have a conversation about the conflict, and develop an understanding for how the other person feels and why they feel that way. This will also provide you with knowledge for the future on how this individual reacts to certain situations and how you can better approach them about it. Once conflict is resolved through discussion, it will give you better self-awareness and help you reevaluate your roles and goals which will motivate you in the future. MindTools.com's article titled "Conflict Resolution" says that hitting conflict head-on will sharpen your focus and improve your effectiveness at work 2.
When having the discussion with your co-workers to solve the conflict, there are certain tips to follow, writes AllBusiness.com in the article titled "Tips for Dealing with Workplace Conflict." First, make sure everyone involved understands what the issue actually is. Awareness is critical to resolve any problem. Allow everyone involved to speak and express their opinions about the issue at hand. When people involved stay silent, there is no hope for reconciliation. Encourage everyone to express what they believe to be the ideal result. Everyone's goal may not be so different after all. Finally, talk about what is realistic and what is not, and discuss ways to compromise so everyone feels like they are being heard and considered.
As stated by Leadership-And-Motivation-Training website in the article titled "Types of Conflict in the Workplace," there are four common types of conflict in the workplace. The first is interdependence conflicts, meaning that one person's performance depends on the performance of others in the office. For example, the billing person cannot do her job effectively if the sales person does not turn in correct paperwork. Style difference is another common source of workplace conflict because while one team member is concerned with doing something a particular way, the other is concerned with doing it the quickest way. Differences in background, personality and gender are sources of conflict that are the most difficult to resolve because they are factors that are out of a person's control. Finally, differences in leadership style can often frustrate employees that are switched from one supervisor to another as they move up in a company. As soon as they understand one boss' style, they are relocated and have to readjust.
It is important to understand that conflict in the workplace always starts small. According to the Department of Human Resource Management in the piece titled "Workplace Conflict Statistics," poor relationships between employees creates 60 percent to 80 percent of conflict within a business 1. As stated by the Washington Business Journal, a manager will take 25 percent to 40 percent of his time attempting to resolve conflict within the workplace.
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