Conflict Resolution in the Workplace – Conflicts can be described as difference or disagreement of thoughts, values, a difference of opinion and many other reasons where the action or beliefs are unacceptable either 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 either in your personal life or professional life. Coming down to professional conflicts, they usually start at the workplace, which means your office. Let understand conflicts at the workplace better.
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What is conflict at the workplace?
Circumstances where two people or two groups disagree or oppose the facts or recognized requirements or principles or importance of each other at a place of service can be termed as an organizational conflict or conflict at a workplace. These disputes can be between two departments, for example, the sales and the product, customer service and back-office, credit team and the sales team, etc. Disputes cannot just be between teams or different departments; they can also between two higher authorities, between a manager and his subordinate, between two co-workers etc.
The conclusion to conflict is that these disputes or conflicts can arise between any two groups of people with different point of views, interest, 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; in fact, 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 trying to validate their point and proving themselves right, which is good for business and the growth of the organization; 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 impact 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 ignore 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 issue such as difference in personalities, values and ethics, childcare issues, family problems, substance abuse, whereas the organizational factors include disagreements, budget, management issues, issue with coping with the immediate supervisor, not justifying salaries, etc.
Such conflicts can cause a lot of problems within the organization as it disturbs the atmosphere and the people working in it. Stress and frustration are created by such situations; it also disturbs work and business.
After understanding the meaning of dispute or conflict, it is important to understand and know a few reasons that cause conflicts at a workplace. Some of them are given below.
Divergence in individuality
When it is 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 or, in other words having separate individualities. Difference of opinions, a difference of values and ethics and difference of working style is obvious and can most definitely create a difference at the workplace. It is not possible for every employee of the organization to think alike and work in the interest of the company. So it depends upon the individuals how they manage conflict or how they implement 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 services of the company has been bought up in different families and have different ethical and moral values inculcated in them by their ancestors. The difference in family and ethical values also creates difference amongst 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 individuals life, be it personal or professional. People with such emotions are usually very negative or diplomatic, or cunning when it comes to working with other people, 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 as these departments specialize in different parameters. Such negative behavior can create conflict amongst employees.
Conflict of position
Position difference in any organization describes a senior and junior level of working. Seniority comes with experience, knowledge, hard and smart work. The decision of conflict management is on a 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 absolutely 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 the organizational growth by getting healthy business. When the competition gets unhealthy, it starts creating stress amongst coworkers and amongst the team. This indicates and 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, the right tone, and the right 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 not acceptable and can create communication barriers. Make sure your communication fills in the gaps to avoid such conflicts. Conflicts due to communication gaps are very common and silly as well, for they are mere misunderstanding 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, 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 are not competent enough to go out there and work efficiently. This creates a lot of negativity amongst employees, which leads to conflicts amongst employees and against management. Training is a little investment of cost and time of employees; however, it always gives positive results, for the employees work more efficiently and more interested in the company for both their and the growth of the organization.
Management is the basis of every organization. To have a strong and long-lasting employee base, the management needs to be strong, effective and efficient. 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 need to be preserved and kept happy. So it’s better for the company to bring conflict management strategies or conflict management techniques to reduce workplace conflicts.
Changes are the only constant thing.
Any and 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 in the 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 amongst employees.
After knowing few very important reasons for conflicts within an organization, you must know how to avoid such situation at your workplace so that you can perform well for both yourself and the organization or you perform conflict resolution in the workplace.
Keep personal problems away.
Every human being on this planet is surrounded by problems, 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 the same. One way to stop thinking is by trying to work out a solution for your problems which will ease out a little stress. Well, these problems have a very huge impact on your life; the issues might be personal or professional; the stress that it brings along spoils both 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 your sort out a number of 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 decision. 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 of dealing with such a situation put you in a win-win situation and helps you grow well. It is also important for your mental peace as the more you think about the 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 the same efficiently without disturbing the other employees around. Before raise in any dispute, the management needs to work its way out and handle the situation. The upper or the top management is aware of the slightest issue arising in the organization and has the potentials to get the same resolved. Every employee is extremely important for the organization as each one has different potentials. In case 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 a conflict mode.
The organization needs to make sure that proper pieces of training are conducted for employees to help them deal with the issues at the workplace and get the same resolved. Pieces of training to accept changes in the system and the management need to 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 around these conflicts positively is important. Conflicts can be both productive and destructive for the organization; productive conflicts can help you by motivating you in working better. Destructive conflicts need management attention and need to be sorted so that it does not spoil the atmosphere of an organization by demoralizing others.
Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the conflict, so just go through the link
- Professionals Office Etiquette
- Management Styles
- Conflict Resolution Strategies
- Conflict Management Techniques