It is practically impossible to deny that conflicts are unavoidable. No matter how unpalatable they might be, they will manifest themselves in your personal and in your professional life as well. It is not uncommon to encounter conflict at the workplace. We all have different opinions, beliefs, values, perceptions, and ideologies. Therefore, differences of opinion will arise. However, if left unresolved, conflicts at the workplace might prove to be disastrous and this necessitates the formulation of effective solutions for workplace conflict resolution.
What Causes Conflicts At The Workplace?
In any professional setting, conflicts may surface because of a wide variety of reasons. There might be a professional rivalry between two or more staff members or clashes of values between managers and employees. A lack of communication between individuals, miscommunication and misunderstandings, narrow-mindedness, and egotism is what gives birth to conflicts at the workplace.
6 Common Examples of Workplace Conflicts
So, what are the various kinds of conflicts that are likely to arise between individuals in a professional setting? There are different types of conflict in the workplace and some of them have been discussed below:
1. Task-based Or Conflicts Due To Interdependence
Individuals working on certain projects or tasks might sometimes be interdependent on one another. Under such circumstances, one person has to rely on another person for the successful completion of their tasks. Either of them may fail to complete their work on time and this might delay the completion of the entire project. This might, therefore, result in tension between both parties.
2. Related To Leadership
Some individuals perform well under the guidance of strict, authoritarian leaders. On the other hand, some people can function properly under leaders who grant them enough independence in terms of the implementation of their ideas. No two individuals can perform well under the same leader. So, if a person who prefers working with a laid-back leader is compelled to work with a person who is assertive and dominating, a conflict might ensue.
3. Associated With Work Styles
Somebody who prefers to work alone will be incapable of performing efficiently if they are compelled to work along with a team. Some people can deliver excellent performance under stressful conditions, while several others cannot do the same. Everybody is different concerning their style of work.
4. Based On Personality Of Individuals
You may find yourself trapped in an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia at your workplace if you dislike the personality of the people around you. So, if you are forced to work with people who you detest, you might find yourself enmeshed in recurring conflicts.
5. Arising From Discriminatory Behaviour
Serious clashes may surface in workplaces if individuals are subjected to discrimination and harassment. Discriminatory demeanour based on race, gender, ethnicity, etc. might result in grave conflicts.
6. Clash Of Ideas, Interests, Values & More
Conflicts might arise between a person and their colleagues or seniors when their ideas, interests, values do not align with each other. For instance, when working on a creative project, two employees may come up with very different ideas regarding the presentation of the same. If either of the two parties fails to understand, acknowledge, and respect the perspective of the other, tension might develop.
These workplace conflict examples are common occurrences in almost every professional set up all over the world.
Impacts & Implications Of Unresolved Workplace Conflicts
Nobody can do away with situations involving conflict at the workplace. But unresolved tensions can be detrimental to an organization or a company or a business venture in every possible way. Therefore, managing conflict in the workplace is of utmost importance. Otherwise, the following will ensure:
- A gradual loss of productivity and output
- Loss of opportunities for future collaborations
- Loss of talented staff members as a result of prolonged conflicts and cold wars
- Gradual death of creative approaches to work
- The stressful and unproductive work environment
- Decreased job satisfaction among employees
- A rise in cases of mental health issues among employers, entrepreneurs, and employees
- Legal problems in case of serious conflicts
The list above thus indicates that it is very important to devise effective strategies for workplace conflict resolution.
5 Ways To Resolve Conflicts At Workplace Effectively
One must never brush conflicts under the rug. Avoiding and ignoring brewing discontentment among employees, prolonged tensions between the management and staff members will only make matters worse. So, everybody should confront tussles and disagreements.
Read on to discover how you can help yourself and others in managing conflict in the workplace:
1. Lend An Ear
Whether you are one of the parties involved in a conflict or are in charge of resolving one, always listen to what everybody has to say. Everyone should listen to each other. Poor communication is one of the major causes of most conflicts. So, it is important to listen to others carefully and actively.
2. Be A Little Considerate
Listening to others but not respecting their point of view cannot help resolve a conflict. People should acknowledge the fact that they cannot be right all the time. Everyone should learn to carefully consider the ideas, beliefs, and perspectives of other people. Then, they should consider the possibility of negotiation or compromise, which might be beneficial to both.
3. Practise Staying Calm
It is important to stay calm while resolving conflicts. You should try to prevent your emotions from intervening and overtaking your rational thoughts when conflicts arise. Take the help of humour or ask for a break to meditate, watch a calming video or talk to someone who cares.
4. Take Facts Into Account
Before arriving at a conclusion or passing a verdict, one must carefully consider all the pros and cons of all the ideas presented by all the parties. It is important not to take sides. Jumping to hasty conclusions will never help. Conflicts may thus prove to be a learning experience for all those who are eager to grow professionally and personally.
5. Always Empathize & Cooperate
If you listen to others calmly, explore, and explain all the possibilities and probabilities in a considerate way, you will be able to cooperate with others while completing the project at hand.
Despite being a painful reality, conflicts can result in growth and development only if people involved in it can arrive at a healthy resolution. If you choose to grow as a professional, you must never run away from conflicts with your colleagues or seniors. Instead of viewing such incidents in a negative light, consider them as your opportunity to learn and grow. You must learn to face them and arrive at a conclusion that proves to be viable.
- Professionally or otherwise, conflicts will occur and they are not necessarily negative
- Unresolved conflicts at the workplace can have disastrous consequences
- If dealt with maturely, conflicts can only prove to be blessings in disguise in the long run
- Clarify what the disagreement is and set up a private meeting to do so
- Establish a common goal for both parties to reach a mutual agreement
- Discuss ways to meet the common goal and share viable options
- Determine the barriers to the common goal and proactively find solutions
- Agree on the best way to resolve the conflict and try to get to the root cause to ensure this conflict will not come up again
- Acknowledge the agreed-upon solution and determine the responsibilities each party has in the resolution