How to resolve a conflict in the workplace

How to resolve a conflict in the workplace

In this article we would like to explore common conflicts in the workplace, how they develops, why they occur, and if they should be tolerated. What does the term “conflict management” mean? How do conflicts typically arise and what can be done to stop them from getting worse? Last, but not least, what are the steps to take in order to manage conflicts well? In a number of professional settings, “conflicts” are commonplace; in fact, they are an almost inevitable aspect of human communication.

The pros and cons of conflicts in the workplace

A times conflicts fulfil a good and essential function in the workplace: Issues are being addressed and eventually resolved, an open discussion makes sure that everyone understands the different viewpoints, interests and perspectives of all employees. Corporate image and identity may even alter as a result of conflicts.
Conflicts can, however, become a hindrance to business operations in the production, management, or service sectors if they rise above a particular threshold and are not addressed effectively. One of the most crucial jobs of managers and employees alike nowadays is to effectively manage conflicts, and their competency is also determined by these conflict resolution skills.

Common disputes and conflicts at work

The majority of people’s active lives are spent at work. There are always relationships with other people at work that are more or less prone to conflict. Such can be both enriching and demanding at the same time. Most people would agree that resolving disputes with co-workers or bosses at work can be challenging. Most often one can readily come up with solutions for many issues that come up at work. However, there are times when you may feel out of control and overwhelmed. Without knowing why, one no longer enjoys working. You are worn out, sleepy, and helpless.
Such circumstances include, for instance open or covert disputes with staff, a superior you can’t defend yourself from, insufficient self-confidence to make a stand, fear of falling short of the standards, mobbing situations, challenging working circumstances, and actual or imminent termination.

The three most common reasons why conflicts arise at work

First, workplace time pressure is rising as more duties are given to employees that must yet be finished during the same working hours as previously. As a result of stress, relationships with co-workers tend to suffer. The work environment and climate is getting worse as a result.
Second, workplace envy and rivalry are more common than meets the eye. The constant comparison of status, reputation, and position can lead to a lot of discontent and anger.
Third, layoffs are becoming a growing trend in businesses. You might be concerned for your own job because of the economic situation right now. And all of a sudden, you find yourself doubting the security of your own employment. Be aware that this type of stress is the perfect environment for office fights to grow!

What is conflict management?

The term “conflict management,” which comes from the Latin conflict us, which roughly translates to “collision,” refers to the process of orchestrating conflicts between various social groupings. Importantly, in this context conflict management involves averting different crisis situations and coming up with proper methods to do away with them.

Steps to resolve a conflict

First, everyone involved needs to become aware of the fact that there is a conflict. Before a conflict is actually open in the room, it announces itself with various symptoms. Changes in the behaviour of individual employees, hostile remarks, verbal abuse, lack of interest, as well as avoidance or evasion could indicate a conflict. The earlier you recognize the conflict, the more leeway you have.
Second, once the conflict has been identified, a conflict analysis needs to be conducted. This phase of conflict resolution is all about the detailed analysis of the problem. Questions like: “What is the conflict actually about? What goals are being pursued by the parties involved? What fears and feelings are in the room? How do I see the conflict as a person affected? How do I see the conflict from the perspective of an outsider? How do I see the conflict as an opposing party? What would be the result if the conflict is not resolved?” – have to be answered at this stage.
Third, the conflict needs to be addressed and handled properly. The focus shifts here from diagnosing the problem to a focus on finding a solution. In the form of conflict talks and conversations, it is possible to analyse and discuss conflicting interests well and thus to find solutions.
It is important to recognize the stage of the conflict in order to set appropriate options for action that prevent escalation.