Conflict at the workplace is inevitable. Given the fact that diverse people are working together under strict pressure and time constraints, there is bound to be friction. Conflict is given at the work place, but how you handle this conflict is subjective. We highlight the main mistakes that are made while handling conflict at the workplace.
The first stumbling block for many is the inability to understand the cause of the conflict. Avoid falling into the trap of treating all conflicts similarly – because truth is, they are not.
Understand root cause the conflict, not just the superficial consequences that hence arise. This will ensure that the conflict is resolved on a permanent basis. Recalling an incident where two particular members of a team were permanently at loggerheads. It was creating a rather unpleasant working environment. So their team leader decided to understand the root of the problem. It was found that the roles assigned to each were overlapping and ambiguous. There was a lot of confusion about who was responsible for what. They were continuously stepping on each other’s toes. Once the problem was diagnosed the solution was simple and clear outlines are drawn up of each one’s roles and duties. Similarly other common causes of conflict include power differing opinions conflict of interest etc.
Approach it right
If you approach the conflict situation correctly half the battle is already won. Take a balanced approach. Excessive aggression or defensiveness helps no one.
There is also the need to balance when one should tackle the issue head first versus when one should let it subside by itself. Directly confront the conflict when it concerns an immensely important area and has far reaching consequences and seems unlikely to resolve itself. In other situations let time take its course. Simply blowing a conflict out of proportion helps no one. Excessive avoidance of conflict resolution is also harmful it will cause the issue to fester and take on a larger uglier face.
Spreading the stink
When conflict breaks out, it is often tempting to involve as many people as possible. Most tended to ell their friendly co-workers about the issue and possibly even take the issue to their bosses. However, it is better to address the issue on a one–to-one basis. Don’t allow miscellaneous people to get involved with the issue unnecessarily. When camps form, the issue gets necessarily politicized.
Further if you go running to your superiors at the slightest hint of trouble, the organization may start viewing you as cowardly and incompetent employee. Try and solve the conflict by yourself at the first instance. Should you decide to involve others, take the decision rationally based on who can solve the problem most effectively and not necessarily who you are closest to at the workplace?
So you’ve taken the decision of speaking to the concerned person directly. But how should you speak to the individual you are currently embroiled in a conflict with? Don’t see the other persons as a villain. Learn to separate the person from the circumstances. Avoid sarcasm snide comments abuses or anything that will further antagonize your co-worker. Treat the other person with respect. Chances are that they will reciprocate
It is human tendency to assume that you are completely in the right, while your conflicting co-worker is completely in the wrong Truth is that reality is often a shade of grey. Learn to introspect examine your standpoint and identify weaknesses in the same accept it with dignity.
A lot of employees refuse to listen during a conflict situation. They completely tune out from all viewpoints that challenge their current position. For others their ego prevents them from accepting instances when they are wrong. It is impossible to resolve a conflict properly if you don’t even know what the other side is saying.
Conflict resolution is an art, a skill that has become increasingly important at the workplace. By avoiding common traps, you can do away with a lot of unpleasant effects that conflicts bring with them.