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CONFLICT MANAGEMENT – AN ESSENTIAL TOOL AT YOUR DISPOSAL

Conflicts- we’ve all experienced them; and with our co-workers, at least once– either a trivial argument or even a full-fledged altercation, and depending upon the issue, avoiding them in the workplace may seem next to impossible. When you have a team of employees from multiple backgrounds, maintaining unity in diversity could be challenging. One of the most important responsibilities of an entrepreneur and the department head is to endeavor to keep such conflicts from occurring. Certain managements attempt to avoid such disputes through strict rules and regulations, while other organisations resolve these issues only after they arise. Here, we will discuss the best ways to manage such conflicts.  

Reasons for conflict

Conflicts can occur in any organisation for a range of reasons. They are usually expressed in various forms which may include insults, non-cooperation, bullying, and anger. Some people might ignore these conflicts but the fact is that they have adverse effects on the workplace such as causing disruptions, low production, absenteeism, terminations, project failure and poor turnover. Like physical stress- emotional and mental stress can have a toll on the annual production and profit of the organisation, too. Some common causes that lead to conflicts include:

  • Different cultural backgrounds
  • Poor workplace behavior and etiquette
  • Egoism between employees. 
  • Unclarified roles in the workplace
  • Healthy competition between the employees turning dirty
  • Poor management and organisational change
  • Personal differences between employees in age, gender, and upbringing

All these conflicts are merely instances that might vary depending upon the prevailing situation within the organisation. Sometimes the time window to solve an issue might have passed and hence the next best option is to use an approach that may reduce inter-personal differences even before they occur. 

How to solve them?

Before discussing the concerns after the problems arise, we must learn about specific and effective techniques that can be used to resolve these issues.

Team Workshops: Workshops transcend beyond being a place of education and skill development. They are used to sort out personal differences between the employees, in a relaxed environment, too. Workshops can be conducted within the office or off-sites to enjoy the day along with training. 

Group Discussions: The manager or the department head can conduct regular meetings which allow employees to voice their opinions, including personal issues with fellow employees. This idea has greater chances of resolving problems at an early stage, rather than letting them fester and grow. 

Rules and Regulations: After thorough research specific to workplace conflict, strict rules and regulations should be placed within the office environment to ensure conflicts do not arise due to work-related differences. These types of policies will improve communication between employees and should be made clear and consistent. An excellent way to avoid such conflict is transparency amongst the employees which are enabled by policies. Sometimes, however, a particular conflict might arise despite the implementation of the techniques mentioned above. In these cases, the authorities should focus on solving the disputes quickly rather than neglecting them, to avoid the risk of them turning into a massive problem within a short period. 

One-to-One Chats: If the conflict is between a particular team or individuals with less than five people involved, these can be solved by having one-to-one chats with the members separately; and as a complete team. You can insist that they voice their opinions in person, which might help in finding a solution. 

Strict Consequences: Sometimes the conflicts might escalate and result in property or product damage. Such a situation can be resolved by either removing the individuals involved in the disputes or offering to demote them. 

Whichever way you approach it, always remember that issues usually have a solution. Managers and department heads must find the way forward and implement them on priority. Avoidance will not bode well for the organisation, so it is better to face these challenges head-on and with vigour.