Conflict between workers is common in the workplace. When someone behaves in a way that interferes with the actions of another person, conflict arises. Conflict can take the form of verbal arguments where people's ideas are at odds, sexual harassment, and social or cyber-bullying. Sometimes conflict can be resolved easily between the parties involved, but sometimes a supervisor must step in to manage the conflict and reestablish harmonious relationships among workers.
KINDS OF WORKPLACE CONFLICTS
Let’s start by identifying where conflicts happen. Think about the kinds of conflicts that happen around your workplace.
• Disagreements over turf (who should do what).
• Disagreements over policy (how things should be done).
• Conflicts of personality and style
COMMON WAYS OF DEALING WITH CONFLICT
These are some of the ways we typically deal with conflict. Do you see yourself in any of them?
• Avoid the conflict.
• Deny the conflict; wait until it goes away.
• Change the subject.
• React emotionally; become aggressive, abusive, hysterical, or frightening.
• Find someone to blame.
• Make excuses.
• Delegate the situation to someone else.
All of these responses are nonproductive. Some of them are actually destructive. This is why learning to manage conflict is so important.
EFFECT ON WORK RELATIONSHIPS
The workplace is a system of relationships. Relationships have many different aspects; here are several examples:
• Respect for boss
When conflicts are handled well, there’s a positive effect on work relationships. When they are not, these factors can deteriorate. Productivity and the free expression of ideas are also impacted.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT HOW PEOPLE MANAGE CONFLICT
The skills involved in managing conflict are learned behaviors. None of us is born knowing how to deal with differences of opinion, arguments, or...