By Archibong Archibong
“Workplace conflicts happen everywhere, and ignoring them can be costly. Every unaddressed conflict wastes about eight hours of company time in gossip and other unproductive activities”…..Joseph Grenny
This statement implies that conflict is a normal thing in a work team and it can cause enormous drain the organization’s productivity. Conflict pervades the core of team processes, and, if unaddressed, can impede the development of a team. It causes a massive degree of frustration, pain, discomfort, sadness, as well as anger among team members.
Conflict is not a strange thing for people. Human beings experience it in their day-to-day lives – with their friends, families, and more so their professional lives. In a world of today, organizations hire employees from diverse geographical locations with dissimilar cultural and intellectual backgrounds, as well as various viewpoints. In a working environment where people have disparate outlooks toward the same problems, disagreements are bound to happen. Conflict is actually normal and healthy because it is one of the vital ingredients to organizational success. Experts have found that the most effective teams are those in which members feel safe enough to disagree with one another. A culture where dissent is allowed, or even encouraged, can spur innovation, fresh ideas, diversity of thought and better decision-making.
It is therefore in our place to find out which degree of conflict is healthy or harmful. When co-workers disagree on a particular subject to arrive at a dependable solution, such could be termed “healthy”, but when personal and emotional feelings of hurt and bitterness come into play, and respect between employees is being lost, it becomes harmful and detrimental to the organization’s image and growth.
The major causes of team conflict include; perceived breach of faith; unresolved disagreement, miscommunication, personality clashes, differences in acquired values, underlying stress and tension, work overload and ego problems. Reaching consensus through collaboration, controlling emotional outburst, enhancing self-esteem, preserving individual dignity, listening carefully and with empathy, being honest about concerns, getting individual ego out of management style are some of the key principles for avoiding or resolving team conflicts.
- Defining the cause of the conflict is the first step to resolving conflict which will enable you to understand how the issue came to grow in the first place. Thereafter, you will be able to get both parties to consent to what the disagreement is. And to do so, you need to discuss the needs which are not being met on both sides of the issues. Also, you need to guarantee mutual understanding. Ensure you obtain as much information as possible on each side’s outlook. Continue asking questions until you are confident that all the conflicting parties understand the issue.
- Give each party equal time to express their thoughts and concerns without favoring the other. Embrace a positive and assertive approach while in the meeting. If necessary, set ground rules. Taking this approach will encourage both these parties to articulate their thoughts in an open and honest manner as well as comprehend the causes of the conflict and identify solutions.
- Dig deeper and find out more about the happenings, involved parties, the issues, and how people are feeling. Have an individual and confident conversation with those involved and listen in a keen manner to ensure you comprehend their viewpoints. Never come up with a final verdict at this point.
- After investigating the situation and determining ways through which you can resolve the issue, show both parties the need to develop a conclusion on the best solution for the problem.
Managing and resolving conflict at work is integral in meeting organizational goals. So, if you have any problems or there are disagreements between your employees, look for ideal ways you can manage this situation. As much as possible, harmful conflicts should be avoided in workplaces in order not to affect the organization’s morale and success.