Updated May 31, 2023
Conflict Resolution in the Workplace – Conflicts can be described as differences or disagreements of thoughts, values, a difference of opinion, and many other reasons where the action or beliefs are unacceptable to a group or individual. Conflicts can have a number of definitions, as it is an emotion and varies from person to person. When you think about conflicts, you will surely think about people you have a difference of opinion with. These people may be related to you in your personal or professional life. Coming down to professional conflicts, they usually start at the workplace, which means your office. Let’s understand conflicts at the workplace better.
What is Conflict at Workplace?
Circumstances where two people or two groups disagree or oppose the facts or recognized requirements, principles, or importance of each other at a place of service, can be termed as an organizational conflict or conflict at the workplace. These disputes can be between two departments: the sales and the product, customer service and back-office, the credit team, and the sales team, etc. Disputes cannot just be between teams or different departments but also between two higher authorities, a manager and his subordinate, two co-workers, etc.
The conclusion to conflict is that these disputes or conflicts can arise between any two groups of people with different points of view, interests, needs, and values. Conflicts can be both productive and non-productive conflicts.
Conflicts are not always bad or incorrect; well, they do create a lot of stress, uneasiness, anxiety, and frustration. However, many times at the workplace, conflicts prove to be very productive and positive; for a number of people, conflicts work as a motivation factor to bring the best out of them. Conflicts amongst groups are usually not destructive; in fact, both come to conflict resolution skills by validating their point and proving themselves right, which is good for business and the organization’s growth. This is a healthy conflict. Departments know that they depend on each other, and hence they cannot have an invalid or unhealthy dispute amongst each other. Such disputes are necessary to help the business grow the right way.
So besides all the negative impacts conflicts have, they can also be good for the organization and the personal growth of the employee. Such disputes display the ability of the employee as they prove themselves correct to solve the conflict through conflict management and help the business grow.
Such conflicts usually occur when the individual or the group ignores the motive of the conflict at the workplace, which mainly is solving the issue, and is too busy or engrossed in satisfying their self-ego or self-esteem. This can also come into the picture when blame games are played within the organization. There are a lot of issues that create destructive conflicts among employees in a company; these include personal issues such as differences in personalities, values, and ethics, childcare issues, family problems, and substance abuse. Whereas the organizational factors include disagreements, budget, management issues, issues with coping with the immediate supervisor, unjustified salaries, etc.
Such conflicts can cause many problems within the organization, as it disturbs the atmosphere and the people working there. Such situations create stress and frustration and also disturb work and business.
After understanding the meaning of dispute or conflict, it is important to understand and know a few reasons that cause conflicts in a workplace. Some of them are as follows:
Divergence in individuality
When talking about human resources, you are talking about a resource that is most unpredictable because human beings hired to work within an organization are different individuals with different personalities. The difference in opinions, a difference of values and ethics, and difference in working style is obvious and can most definitely create a difference in the workplace. It is not possible for every employee of the organization to think alike and work in the company’s interest. So it depends upon the individuals managing conflict or implementing conflict resolution strategies or conflict resolution techniques.
Values are dissimilar
Just like the individualities or personalities of employees in an organization are different, so are values. Every employee engaged in the company’s services has been bought up in different families and has different ethical and moral values from their ancestors. The difference in family and ethical values also creates differences among employees working in the organization. This can also lead to conflicts between them.
Jealousy, Ego Problem, and Incorrect Attitude
Negative emotions such as jealousy, ego problem, and incorrect attitude have a very bad impact on any individual’s life, be it personal or professional. People with such emotions are usually very negative, diplomatic, or cunning when working with others, especially in teams. Working in any organization involves a lot of teamwork as the organization cannot function with the qualities of a single individual. There are different departments in an organization specializing in different parameters. Such negative behavior can create conflict among employees.
Conflict of Position
Position difference in any organization describes a senior and junior level of working. Seniority comes with experience, knowledge, and hard and smart work. The decision of conflict management is on justified basis. However, at times, a less deserving employee is promoted, and the deserving ones are left behind. This creates a conflict of position or role where the deserving ones feel they are more knowledgeable and deserving and would not want to work under the promoted employee. This creates a difference in the team and leads to a loss in business.
Competition amongst employees is possible and is natural; however, this competition needs to be healthy as the competitors are coworkers and not different companies to compete against each other. Healthy competition amongst coworkers is a good sign as it helps organizational growth by getting healthy business. When the competition gets unhealthy, it starts creating stress among coworkers and the team. This indicates a huge loss for the employees, the team, and the organization.
It is very important to communicate the right way. The right means of communication, with the right attitude, tone, and language, is very important whenever you talk to anyone at your workplace to avoid workplace conflict. Every organization has set values and ethics which should not be overlooked. Using incorrect means of communication, inappropriate language, wrong tone, and attitude is unacceptable and can create communication barriers. Make sure your communication fills in the gaps to avoid such conflicts. Conflicts due to communication gaps are also very common and silly, for they are misunderstandings that can be resolved by communicating correctly.
Information not provided is much better than providing incomplete or incorrect information. When providing information to employees of the organization, the company or the management has to make sure that the information provided is full and complete so that there is no confusion amongst employees and it does not lead to any conflict between the employees and the management or amongst employees.
Inadequate or no training
When an employee is hired, he needs to be trained about the company, its ethics, its values, products, and services the company is dealing with, and other pieces of training that are essential for the growth of the employee. When an employee is not provided with training or is provided with inadequate training, he/she is not competent enough to go out there and work efficiently. This creates a lot of negativity among employees, which leads to conflicts between them and against management. Training is a small investment in the cost and time of employees. However, it always gives positive results, for the employees work more efficiently and are more interested in the company for their and the organization’s growth.
Management is the basis of every organization. The management needs to be strong, effective, and efficient to have a strong and long-lasting employee base. Inefficient management can simply make and keep the employees unhappy, leading to a number of different conflicts and a high employee attrition rate. An efficient employee base is the biggest and the best asset of any company; they must be preserved and kept happy. So it’s better for the company to bring conflict management strategies or techniques to reduce workplace conflicts.
Changes are the only constant thing.
Every industry and organization has to face a number of changes at regular intervals. Modern business is extremely challenging for both big and small organizations; hence accepting changes to simplify processes and business is very important for all employees working in the system. Not all employees in the organization can easily accept changes and implement them in their day-to-day work. This creates a lot of disputes and disinterest in working among employees.
After knowing a few very important reasons for conflicts within an organization, you must know how to avoid such situations at your workplace so that you can perform well for both yourself and the organization and perform conflict resolution in the workplace.
Keep personal problems away.
Problems surround every human being on this planet, be it personal or professional. These problems, when stressed about or when thought over, get worse. Yes, it is very easy to ask someone not to think about issues, hurdles, or maybe major problems in life; however, it is very difficult to stop worrying about them. One way to stop thinking is by trying to work out a solution for your problems which will ease out a little stress. These problems have a huge impact on your life; the issues might be personal or professional.
The stress it brings spoils your personal and professional life by putting your efforts down the drain when you commit one small mistake. The only advice is to keep your files separate, which means when you are at work, do not carry your personal problems along, and when your home, please keep your professional issues away. Try this out, as keeping your files separate will help you sort out several issues in life.
Take competition positively
Supervisor and managerial conflicts are common and normal in each organization; however, it is important to understand the reason behind management decisions. The growth of co-workers and working under a co-worker is also a part of organizational growth; this change should be accepted positively. You need to prove your worth to the management to make sure you get the deserving designation and you lead. Taking competition positively is extremely important for you and your organizational growth. Positivity and a positive attitude in dealing with such a situation put you in a win-win situation and help you grow well. It is also important for mental peace, as the more you think about inappropriate management, the more you stress yourself. Stress is not good for work.
Adequate training and appropriate management
Right management and the right way of managing your employees are very important to retain your employees. Management needs to be aware of the employees, their requirements, and issues and help them solve them efficiently without disturbing the other employees. Before raising any dispute, the management must work out and handle the situation. The upper or the top management is aware of the slightest issue arising in the organization and has the potential to get the same resolved. Every employee is extremely important for the organization as each has different potential. If you are uncomfortable with any situation, you can raise it to the HR department or the higher authorities and get your issues sorted instead of moving into conflict mode.
Proper employee training is essential for organizations to equip their staff with the skills to address workplace issues effectively. Pieces of training to accept changes in the system and the management must be accepted positively. Every change has a reason; the same needs to be understood and taken positively.
Conflicts are normal and a constant process in any organization. Dealing with these conflicts positively is important. Conflicts can be both productive and destructive for the organization. Productive conflicts can help you by motivating you to work better. Destructive conflicts need management attention and must be sorted to not spoil an organization’s atmosphere by demoralizing others.
Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the conflict, so just go through the link