Max Lucado, US author and minister, once said “conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional”. And, workplace teams are certainly no exception. This makes conflict
management critical, whether avoiding arguments, disputes, lasting conflict or ultimately, litigation.
Many of the calls we take on a daily basis centre around conflict within the workplace, teamwork in business expects the co-operation of individuals who may have their own personal agendas, interests, needs and preferences for ways of working. For business owners and line managers, this means there’s often the nightmare possibility that conflict will blow up, consume people’s energy and sink team performance, often affecting not only those involved in the conflict but the people around them.
A degree of conflict can be healthy, as long as it is discussed and a conclusion is reached clashing personalities or opposing viewpoints can actually bring new ideas and discussions on aspects of a project that had not been imagined before. The type of conflict managers have to worry about more is unspoken resentment that can erupt in an outburst, or even more deadly, in quiet mutiny or deviation from agreed upon roles, tasks and goals.
We often recommend the following informal methods when dealing with conflict:
- Be aware that conflict occurs naturally
- Set the ground rules, often within employee handbook and contract
- Learn About destructive conflicts which can affect operations
- Stop conflict when it happens
- Get the whole story by meeting with all relevant parties and witnesses
- Meet for mediation and look for resolution, discussing both sides of the perspective
- Make compromise a goal, blaming the problem not the people.
Often businesses take the informal route and unless handled correctly the situation only improves for a short period of time. At this point we are often asked to become involved and mediate with employees, very often an outside party becoming involved assists greatly.
If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610