HR must address issues tactfully

In times of increasing pressure and added responsibilities at the workplace accompanied by conflicting viewpoints, disagreements and differences in opinion among employees are bound to take place. Conflict resolution, hence becomes a must have attribute, in an endeavor for HR to address such issues amicably and tactfully.

Differences in opinion can either be with a colleague or a senior or subordinate as well. There are in fact different types of conflicts that can creep up in a workplace. What can be the reasons for such conflicts? Conflicts are broadly either personalized or substantive. From an HR perspective, the most common conflicts generally addressed by fraternity are related to role interdependence where a person’s job depends on someone else’s co-operation, output or input, leadership styles (dual reporting), style of working and personality conflicts typically, reflective of emotions and perceptions about somebody else’s motives educational background abilities and personality.

When people work together towards common goals, against short time lines and have to deliver under pressure in the company’s pecking order friction amongst personalities is obvious. Conflicts may be about decisions, ideas, directions, actions, personality, back ground or due to just personal reasons. Just as two or more employees may have conflicting styles, they can also have conflicting perceptions. They may view the same incident in dramatically different ways; what was meant gets lost in a fire storm of responses to perceived wrongs. Resentment and conflict may also occur when one department is viewed as more valuable to the organization than others. Employees carry different values and sentiments are attached to those. Conflict may creep in if personal values are hurt intentionally or unintentionally at the workplace.

People with diverse backgrounds have diverse views to approach any given problem. However, it is not always bad to have conflicts as they are indicative of the diversity of your workforce. It is only those conflicts which are personal or ego related in nature that are not healthy for an organization. The main reason for such personal conflicts is the inability of human mind to accept subordination when required. People, especially in India, do not understand that you cannot be a leader all the time, in all situations in all the tasks, be it small or big.

In most organizations, the higher management is expected to take on challenging responsibilities. Even in the case of employee conflicts, managers act as mediators. They should understand the nature and causes that may develop conflict among their members as well as the outcome and the different strategies by which conflict can be managed. So what is the best way to resolve a conflict before it gets out of hand?

It is advisable that the culture of the organization should encourage event and situational arguments and discussion. The objectivity should not be lost and views in the light of the particular event should be evaluated. Irrespective of the grade, level and designation, a good idea should be appreciated and no idea shall be deemed bad. The best way to handle conflicts is through an open dialogue. Listen to both sides, understand the cause separate the employee from the problem ideate on solutions, choose a mutually acceptable solution and implement the same.

The best way to handle conflicts is to face the team members in person. Many people are not receptive to feedback. Even if they do not care about the feedback given by you, they will surely think about it if same feedback is given to them by other people too. So we should not hesitate in giving feedback but at the same time, we should not expect others to change their behavior instantly.

The most important aspect of conflict resolution is to treat each party with dignity and respect as well as ensure that sensitivity is maintained while dealing with any type of conflict at the workplace. Based on the situation, conflicts could be eliminated, alleviated, alleviated or resolved. What is important here is never to avoid the conflict, hoping it will go away; it won’t. Organizations implement processes for formal conflict resolution as well as alternative conflict resolution such as negotiation, mediation, advocacy, counseling, critical pedagogy, arbitration or diplomacy. Professionals creatively combine several of these approaches as required. Whether conflicts or disagreements become full blown feuds or fuel creative problem solving depends upon the person handling the situation. It takes a lot to deal with disagreements in a proactive, productive manner; by knowing when and how to intervene and when to let things be.

Employees need to understand that conflicts exist and if resolved effectively can lead to personal and professional growth. Wee encourage employees to resolve conflict rationally and effectively. When conflict is resolved effectively, team members can develop stronger mutual respect and a renewed faith in their ability to work together.

Most organizations today have come to understand the need of doing conflict resolution effectively and hence, build a cohesive environment for its employees to grow and become better initiatives certainly have a long way to go.