Resolving conflicts at the workplace How to Resolve
Organization leaders are responsible for creating a work environment that enables people to thrive. If turf wars, disagreements and differences of opinion escalate into interpersonal conflict, you must intervene immediately. Not intervening is not an option if you value your organization and your positive culture. In conflict-ridden situations, your mediation skill and interventions are critical.
Differences in opinion, can either be with a colleague or a senior or your subordinate as well. There are, in fact, different types of conflicts that can creep up in a workplace.
Cause 1. Conflicting Needs Whenever workers compete for scarce resources, recognition, and power in the company's “pecking order”, conflict can occur. Since everyone requires a share of the resources (office space, supplies, the boss's time, or the budget fund) to complete their jobs, it should come as no surprise when the “have-nots” gripe and plot against the “haves”.
Cause 2. Conflicting Styles Because individuals are individuals, they differ in the way they approach people and problems. Associates need to understand their own style and learn how to accept conflicting styles. Personality tests, such as Myers-Briggs Personality Type Inventory (MBTI), can help people explore their instinctive personality styles .An example of conflicting styles would be where one worker works best in a very structured environment while another worker works best in an unstructured environment. These two workers could easily drive each other crazy if they constantly work in conflict with one another and do not learn to accept one another's work style.
Cause 3. Conflicting Perceptions Just as two or more workers can have conflicting styles, they can also have conflicting perceptions. They may view the same incident in dramatically different ways. .Memos, performance reviews, company rumors, hallway comments, and client feedback are sources for conflicting perceptions. What was meant gets lost in a firestorm of responses to perceived wrongs .Resentment and conflict can also occur when one department is viewed as more valuable to the organization than others.
Cause 4. Conflicting Goals Associates may have different viewpoints about an incident, plan, or goal. Problems in the workplace can occur when associates are responsible for different duties in achieving the same goal. The business office is responsible for documenting financial information and getting paid, whereas the nursing staff is responsible for the patient's physical assessment and immediate admission. Both objectives are important and necessary, but may cause conflict.
Cause 5. Conflicting Pressures Conflicting pressures can occur when two or more associates or departments are responsible for separate actions with the same deadline.
Cause 6. Conflicting Roles Conflicting roles can occur when an associate is asked to perform a function that is outside his job requirements or expertise or another associate is assigned to perform the same job. This situation can contribute to power struggles for territory. This causes intentional or unintentional aggressive or passive-aggressive (sabotage) behavior. Everyone has experienced situations where associates have wielded their power in inappropriate ways.
Cause 7. Different Personal Values Conflict can be caused by differing personal values. Segregation in the workplace leads to gossiping, suspicion, and ultimately, conflict (Hart, 2002). Associates need to learn to accept diversity in the workplace and to work as a team.
Cause 8. Unpredictable Policies Whenever company policies are changed, inconsistently applied, or non-existent, misunderstandings are likely to occur. Associates need to know and understand company rules and policies; they should not have to guess. Otherwise, unpredictable things can occur such as associates dressing inappropriately or giving out wrong information. The absence of clear policies or policies that are constantly changing can create an environment of uncertainty and conflict (Hart, 2002).
Trust me. It won’t. Even if the conflict appears to have been superficially put to rest, it will rear its ugly head whenever stress increases or a new disagreement occurs. An unresolved conflict or interpersonal disagreement festers just under the surface in your work environment. It burbles to the surface whenever enabled, and always at the worst possible moment. This, too, shall pass, is not an option – ever.
Do not avoid the conflict, hoping it will go away.
If you allow each individual to tell their story to you, you risk polarizing their positions. The person in conflict has a vested interest in making himself or herself “right” if you place yourself in the position of judge and jury. The sole goal of the employee, in this situation, is to convince you of the merits of their case. Do not meet separately with people in conflict.
Everyone in your office and every employee with whom the conflicting employees interact, is affected by the stress. People feel as if they are walking on egg shells in the presence of the antagonists. This contributes to the creation of a hostile work environment for other employees. In worst case scenarios, your organization members take sides and your organization is divided. Do not believe, for even a moment, the only people who are affected by the conflict are the participants.
Resolving Workplace Conflict: 4 Ways to a Win-Win Solution By Dr. Tony Fiore
Not all conflict ends up, or should end up with a winner and a loser. The most constructive conflicts end up with both parties "winning". Here are some techniques to work towards the Win-Win situation.
There are four specific steps managers can take to reduce workplace conflict. The first is for managers to look at communication skills , both in terms of how they communicate and how they are teaching their employees to communicate with each other. This, of course, includes using I statements instead of you language. Owning your own feelings and your own communication is a much more effective way to communicate and even more, teaching your employees to communicate that way with others, goes a long way toward reducing conflict.
The second part of communication is for managers to beef up listening skills. Active listening involves things like actually trying to understand what the other person is saying, and then communicating to the other person that you do indeed understand what they are saying.
The second way to decrease workplace conflict is to establish healthy boundaries. Without boundaries, there will be conflict and squabbles, power struggles and all kinds of circumstances that make for messy situations.
You can be professional and be empathetic and compassionate toward your employees, without crossing the line of becoming their friend. This is especially important when there's a power difference between two people in an employment situation.
The third factor to reducing conflict is a skill called emotional intelligence. There are many aspects and facets but it basically means developing skills to be more effective by teaching people to combine both intelligence and emotions in the workplace.
Seeing and dealing with employees as human beings with real lives is often overlooked in the busy workplace. People with high emotional intelligence can do this in a professional manner, and maintain appropriate boundaries. Another aspect of EQ is knowing and being sensitive to how employees are experiencing you as a manager. Part of EQ is teaching managers to be sensitive to how theyre coming across to others.
The fourth aspect of reducing workplace conflict is setting up behavioral consequences to be used with truly uncooperative employees who are unwilling to change. Despite using all these recommendations, there will be a few employees that just wont change because they are unwilling or unable. That means a manager must explain a consequence, which is an action or sanction that states to the employee the likely outcome of continuing problematic behavior. It will take skills from the three previous points to do this in a non-threatening way.
Is there ever a place for anger in the workplace? Yes. When people can say, Wait a minute. I am not happy with this; I don't like what's going on, and they turn that anger into a positive action, then the anger can be seen as a kind of motivator. Sometimes when were in a position where we recognize that we are upset about something, and we use that to our advantage, we can make that work for us, and in the long run, actually work for the company.
As employees, the more we can learn to speak up, to be able to say what our needs and our wants are in a healthy way, and not let it fester to the point of rage or explosion, we can use our anger as a motivator to help us take action.
Employees can also change their attitude toward their job while putting up with the unpleasant aspects of it. One way to reduce conflict and to be happier is to find a way to shift our perspective and our vision of why were there.