Conflict at work takes many forms: it may be simple personality clashes between individuals or possibly rivalry between teams, or even lack of trust and respect between groups of employees and management.
It may be self-evident in terms of verbal disagreement in the workplace, however not all forms of conflict present so obviously. Individuals who have conflict issues at work may choose to keep it to themselves rather than try and deal with the problem, likewise a team of employees may cut itself off from the organisation as a whole.
How can conflict be identified?
Conflict can be identified by lack of motivation, lack of input at meetings, reluctance to become involved in new initiatives, behaviour changes, less involvement in staff social events, whether this be an individual or a group as a whole, sickness absence caused by stress, reduced productivity. One of the best ways to identify conflict is through staff surveys.
What causes conflict?
Conflict can be the result of many factors such as poor management, undefined job descriptions, poor working conditions, bullying, lack of opportunity, unfair treatment, poor communication or simply a personality clash.
How do you manage conflict?
Conflict between individuals can be managed by speaking to the parties individually and investigating the problem informally. It may be necessary to use internal procedures, for example, grievance procedures, and it may be helpful to use a mediator to assist in the process
Managing conflict between groups of employees may involve making adjustments to the way improving the way you communicate with employees, changing structures within your organisation in order to tackle such situations going forward, possibly restructuring staff groups within the workplace. It may well be necessary to engage outside expert assistance.
In many disputes the issues can be resolved by simply talking and listening to employees. Giving people the time and space to express their feelings and concerns can often help to clear the air. Mediation is the most common form of dispute resolution which may be sourced from outside your organisation. It involves an independent, impartial person helping two individuals or groups reach a solution that is acceptable to everyone.
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