In today’s multicultural corporate world, workplace conflicts are inevitable.
Despite the good intentions of co-workers, many types of conflicts may arise in the workplace. Fueled by conflicting ideas and opinions, these conflicts have a significant impact on the overall health of the organisation.
Disagreements and disputes are bound to arise at work when a diverse group of individuals come together in a corporate setting. These conflicts are even capable of changing the work dynamics and may make the work environment toxic.
What Are Common Workplace Conflicts?
Here are 6 types of common workplace conflicts:
1. Conflicts arising from poor communication
The thorough transmission of information is vital for meaningful workplace communications. When the sharing of ideas and messages lacks clarity and purpose, it gives rise to friction and confusion among co-workers.
As a result of poor communication, there is a tendency for the working environment to be unhealthy and less productive.
2. Conflicts arising from a personality clash
Personality conflicts are one of the most challenging forms of conflict among co-workers. Often, people from different backgrounds have a different approach to life. Thus, they have their own unique ways of approaching tasks and workplace communications.
For instance, an introverted person, who is not accustomed to being open may feel uncomfortable with the social cues of an extrovert personality. Since your behaviours and actions differ from the people you are in constant touch with, there arises a possibility of severe miscommunications at work.
3. Conflicts arising from leadership changes
A change in leadership, say managerial staff or supervisor is a greater cause of conflicts among teams. People take time in embracing changes especially when it comes to management. They are so used to the working style of previous management that this change may feel unnecessary to them in the start. To avoid going out of their comfort zone, they end up resisting the changes and thus, conflicts arise.
4. Task-based conflicts
Task-based conflicts arise within departments when teams rely on each other for the completion of projects. In case an individual contributes less or doesn’t complete his or her part of the tasks, the ability of other team members to finish their parts on time is severely impacted. This results in blame gaming and conflicts among teams.
5. Conflicts arising from differing values
A workplace is an amalgamation of employees having different personalities, beliefs, value systems and ethical standards. When it comes to their understanding of resource allocation and opportunities, there are chances of clashes arising over what is morally right or wrong. Conflicts can also occur on the grounds of who gets what.
6. Conflicts arising due to trust deficit
For the successful completion of a project, it is essential for people working in a team to have absolute trust in one another’s abilities.
Absolute trust depends on four factors:
A. Knowledge: When you have complete faith in the knowledge of a team member, it gets easy to trust on their abilities.
B. Reliability: When another person is reliable and works in a certain way consistently, trust is easily established.
C. Transparency in Communication: Another essential factor of trust is how well a person communicates what they can do and how transparent they are in sharing progress updates.
D. No hidden agenda: Finally, when teams are working together, it is important to complete a project without compromising organisational goals. Conflicts arise when people ignore the well-being of their company and start prioritising their personal goals and interests.
In order to address and manage workplace conflicts, managers must understand the underlying cause of the ongoing conflict.
How to Resolve Workplace Conflicts?
Work conflicts take place every day and they also get resolved every single day. Only when conflicts remain unresolved, they result in a tense working environment.
For a healthy and productive working environment, conflict management is one of the essential managerial skills. Managers who are capable of navigating difficult conflicts are better equipped to effectively lead and manage their teams.
Here is how managers can resolve conflicts at work:
A. Begin by acknowledging different perspectives and their core concerns. Conflicts often stem from differing opinions and goals.
B. When you have understood the underlying cause, think calmly of the ways to resolve the ongoing conflict. Never take action or decision in the heat of the moment.
C. Sit down and have a clear communication with all the involved teams on how they want to resolve this conflict. Be unbiased when listening to their thoughts and feelings and map possible ways to resolve them.
D. With differing personalities in a workplace, people may not agree with one another’s point of view, resulting in miscommunications. To carefully navigate and resolve personality clashes, ensure that co-workers understand and accept each other’s approach to work.
E. When it comes to changes in management, a clear summary of the changes being made in the workplace is helpful for employees! What may seem daunting at first, feels easy to accept and work upon in the presence of a summary.
F. Finally, ensure that employees are transparent with their communications. When projects begin, they communicate what they can do beforehand without any hidden agendas and keep on sharing progress updates timely as the project progresses. Transparent and timely communications are the key to smooth business functioning.
When a group of people work together, conflicts are a natural phenomenon. As a manager, you need to deal with various kinds of conflicts arising from personality clashes to drastic changes in the management.
For a more harmonious working environment, it is necessary to understand the underlying causes of workplace conflicts and take proactive measures to address them. Only when these conflicts are resolved properly, there is promotion of better ideas, innovative solutions and stronger workplace relationships.
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1. How to avoid conflicts in the workplace?
One of the ways to avoid conflicts in the workplace is by encouraging open and honest communication among departments. You can also equip people with conflict resolution techniques to help them address and manage conflicts as and when they arise.
2. How to resolve conflicts in the workplace?
Some effective conflict resolution techniques for the workplace are team negotiations, conflict coaching by managers and weekly team-building exercises by the HR Department.
3. What are the 5 ways of handling conflicts in the workplace?
Here are the 5 steps to follow when resolving conflicts:
A. Identify the issue.
B. Listen to all parties involved.
C. Brainstorm possible solutions.
D. Select and implement the most feasible solution.
E. Monitor the resolution closely.