Workplace Conflict

As humans we are all different. Different backgrounds, different interests, different personality’s and of course different ways of working. As a result of this most businesses will, at some point have an issue of conflict amongst its workforce. It may…

Blog2nd Mar 2023

As humans we are all different. Different backgrounds, different interests, different personality’s and of course different ways of working. As a result of this most businesses will, at some point have an issue of conflict amongst its workforce.

It may present itself in a variety of ways, with even the smallest issue that may appear quite ‘insignificant’, to something that is far more serious which could be damaging to individuals and businesses like.

Either way it is imperative to tackle any conflict ‘Head on” and as a matter of urgency to ensure it does not escalate, potentially involving more of your employees thus becoming a far bigger problem to manage. The result of which will not only cost you time but also negatively impacting the financial and reputational wellbeing of the organisation.

Having some healthy competition within an organisation for example, to hit productivity goals and sales targets can be beneficial to the business not only in it its ability to operate effectively but also adds to employee engagement. To manage this competition effectively it is imperative to stay close to behavioural patterns and activities to ensure any clashes are prevented from developing into types of unsociable behaviour or even more seriously into bullying and harassment.

Being a manager means that you are responsible for your employees and also play a vital role in determining the health, wellbeing and engagement of your team. We recently discussed in a previous article, regular one to one meetings are a good source of picking up early signs of conflict or when relationships are not going as well as they once were (or as expected) and a way to identify the root causes to any issues before they escalate.

These methods are discussed within the research from ‘The Chartered Institute of People Development’ (CIPD) they draw on key behaviours that have shown to be vital in determining the overall factors that contribute to employee effectiveness in their teams, and that line managers, when pro-active, can identify and manage the conflict at an early, informal stage – before issues escalate into serious disputes that require the use of formal procedures.

When addressing conflict, investigate with a non bias approach, be sympathetic while relating to the situation and the individual, become the problem solver.

We have discussed catching issues early and communicating regularly however there are formal frameworks that support situations where conflict has developed into something that can’t be fixed on an informal basis – when recognising that formal disciplinary action needs to be taken, follow process and let policy, fair and best practice guide the process.

It is imperative to deliver clear expectations especially around team conduct – a manager’s behaviour and the culture created by that manager is the biggest influence on an employee’s work experience and how the fairly the manager tackles the conflict will support the overall outcome, in the short and longer term.

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