Managing conflict in the workplace

Managing conflict in the workplace

As much as we would like it for colleagues to never have a cross word with each other, conflict is something that has to be expected from time to time.

There are five recorded types of conflict that could cause potential issues within the workforce, and all need to be managed with sensitivity and diplomacy. This will ensure that all colleagues are working to the benefit of the business.

The most obvious is a difference in personality. People cannot be forced to like each other, and when working closely together this can cause tensions within the team. The colleagues should be professional enough to keep their dislike of each other under wraps, but if this begins to spill over into the team, it needs to be dealt with.

Secondly, there are Interdependence conflicts, which occur when there is a reliance between colleagues to complete jobs. Co-operation within the team should ensure that all areas of a role are seamlessly passed to the next element, but if one delays the process, then it can cause conflict.

Another potential cause of conflict is a difference in style. People have a way they like to work, and when others have a style that doesn’t work well with others, it can inflame a situation. There are many differences of style, and it is good management to know what these are, allowing you to prevent any problems before they occur.

Society has changed a lot in a short space of time, and there are chances that conflict can occur when colleagues have differing views on things such as background, political preferences, gender and ethics. You cannot change anyone’s opinion, but bringing in discussions around inclusiveness can assist colleagues in becoming a more cohesive team.

Finally, differences in leadership style can confuse and irritate colleagues when they are caught between different leaders. This causes anxiety for the colleague, which spills over into the team. When discussing leadership, a set of principles and values need to be created and adhered to by the whole business. This will provide the consistency needed by the teams, allowing no cross purposes and conflict.

Conflict in life and work is always going to occur, but it is necessary for leaders to put plans and processes in place to make sure that there is minimal conflict within the working environment. As humans, our complex minds emotions mean that we will always have differences, but when we are at work it is up to leaders and colleagues themselves to keep unnecessary conflict to a minimum.

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Centric HR can help you create, develop and implement people strategies that will include employee engagement programmes and leadership development to help you avoid workplace conflict pitfalls, so if you need further information please contact us here.

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Sandra Berns

Centric HR was founded by Sandra Berns, a confident and versatile Human Resources and Organisational Development Practitioner with 25 years demonstrable experience and a Fellow of the CIPD. Sandra has both Operational and Strategic HR expertise across Public and Private sectors and has assisted senior teams in meeting challenging workforce objectives in many corporate environments.