How to Manage and Resolve Conflicts in the Workplace

1 year ago

Misunderstandings and fake smiles in companies are more common than we think. People spend a large part of the day at work, and it is logical that, after so many hours, conflicts can arise.

Conflicts are normal, but detecting and resolving them is key so that the work environment does not become hell, because when we are bad at work our performance, motivation, or feeling of belonging to the organization are affected.

Why Are There Conflicts In The Workplace? 

It's not uncommon to hear employees complain about their boss's management style or peer rivalries. In short, the interdependent nature of teams and organizations, competitive if not incompatible goals and interests, and perceived scarcity of resources can be the root of conflict in the workplace. And yet, the presence of conflict is not in itself a problem. 

As happens in most contexts, even in the workplace conflicts arise mainly due to differences of opinion and objectives, ways of doing work, or thinking. When we are forced to collaborate with people who are very different from us, avoiding confrontations or competition becomes a challenge.

Lack Of Teamwork And Collaboration

Teamwork is one of the skills most valued by recruiters. However, a highly individualistic mindset can lead to mistrust of others, and in those situations, it is easy to misinterpret certain behaviors and attribute them to wanting to stand out from co-workers.

When someone does not do their job well, they will end up interfering with yours, and possibly, it will cause you to do theirs and work more. Businesses and organizations are dynamic systems, and a delay in the deadline to deliver a project can cause the entire general functioning of this “living organism” to suffer.

Lack Of Communication

Lack of communication is another cause that can cause serious conflicts at work because when an employee or superior fails to communicate (or send the necessary messages) to other workers, problems can appear. Miscommunication can present itself as misinformation or misinformation that can lead to ambiguous situations that lead to failures and allow conflicts to erupt.

Toxic Companions

The toxic people create a bad atmosphere where they go, especially at work. Toxic companions identify themselves because wherever they step they end up badly with everyone and create conflicts where there are none. They like to go where they are not called, they want to be the center of attention and are usually the typical people known as false and critical.

It may happen that it is not the co-workers who intoxicate the work environment, but that the bosses, either due to their mismanagement or their personality, make your life impossible. In these cases, you may be at a disadvantage when it comes to resolving the conflict. Learn more on how to survive a toxic workplace and how to identify one in our blog

Thankfully, leadership is a skill that can be learned. If you feel that the figure of the leader is not clear in the group, you can fill this role yourself or talk to a manager and explain the difficulties you are experiencing.

Conflicts Of Interest Are Defined As A Mutual Problem To Be Resolved

Maintaining a cooperative approach is not easy in the face of conflict. It's easy to be defensive and fearful, or aggressive and even angry when we perceive that our interests, our role, or even our reputation are at stake. This is why organizations are investing more and more in good conflict management. and training in conflict coaching. Being able to maintain high performance under stressful circumstances cannot be left to improvisation and chance. The most successful always train their mental courage for the most difficult times. 

Types Of Conflict: Constructive And Destructive

In the management of interpersonal relationships, each of us activates behavioral modalities, appropriate or not to the situation. The way we place ourselves can generate well-being or discomfort within the organization. That is, when conflicts arise, they can be constructive or destructive.

In a constructive conflict, the contrast manifests itself in the "contents". The communication tends to highlight the aspects that the parties have in common, and any criticisms are never made against the person.

The common goal has absolute priority. Although we may be convinced of the goodness of our ideas, we are open to listen and evaluate the proposals of others. This attitude shows all the positive sides of the conflict and leads to the development of new innovative ideas.

Instead, in a destructive conflict, communication is competitive and personal. Ideas are imposed without objectivity or logic. The common goal passes into the alternative and self-centeredness becomes the protagonist.

These are the classic situations that undermine the serenity of the work environment and lead to the fear of being attacked and derided. What remains is a relationship in which there is no trust and people lose interest in confrontation, isolating themselves. It is the end of an effective work team.

Conflict Management At Work: Create Opportunities For Professional Growth

In managing conflicts at work, the primary objective is not to criticize or punish people, but to show how their behavior could affect the work of other colleagues.

Always encourage teamwork, stay calm and find common ground to create fertile ground where everyone's motivation can be cultivated. Conflicts in relationships between work colleagues are normal, but if you know how to solve them in the right way, they will bring value and innovation to your business project.

Effective Strategies For Managing Conflicts At Work

Conflict management is an art that requires patience and understanding superfine. After all, when a group of people works together, conflict is inevitable. Even if you have done a great job of talent management, it is almost impossible to identify the talents who know how to manage their ego and interpersonal relationships.

However, even if conflicts seem immediately to manifest themselves as a problem, it is possible to resolve them with response strategies capable of producing constructive results.

Understanding Conflict Is The Start Of A Solution

Identifying the nature of a conflict and the different ways people behave in conflict is an essential first step towards resolving the situation.

The key to knowing how to deal with conflict at work is never to take sides in a conflict. Because each individual has his own feelings, his own emotions and it is important to understand where the deep source of the conflict comes from. You will therefore have to be an excellent mediator, a fair arbiter who is there to find a solution that suits both people with the common objective of bringing these people together or at least succeeding in making them cohabit. This is ideal for having healthy team cohesion.

Respond Quickly Before Conflict Develops

Often a conflict is the result of a complicated or tense situation that has been going on for some time. A trigger (an event that could be trivial or serious) turned the unease into a confrontation.

When this conflict is declared, it is advisable to say things clearly and to seek to quickly analyze the causes of it to find avenues of resolution. A meeting between the people involved in this conflict, possibly under the supervision of a “neutral” person (a human resources person, a colleague, or a superior), is essential. This responsiveness is essential to prevent things from escalating.

Find Time to Listen

Ignoring a conflict between colleagues can set off a negative attitude, detrimental to the work environment. So instead of ignoring it, embrace conflict.

Knowing how to listen is essential. Pay your full attention to what those involved in the conflict have to say. Try to understand why they are angry and allow them to explain their motives, without interrupting them.

Ask them to calmly express their ideas and rephrase their frustrations so that it is clear to you why the spark caught fire. Listening and understanding is the first step towards solving problems.

You will have a clear view of the situation and you will be able to make sure that even your co-workers begin to understand each other. It is the right way to see a solution.

You Need To Be Impartial

Whether you are the HR manager, the project leader, or the owner, you need to be a mediator in managing conflicts at work.

Be impartial, without judging, openly criticizing, or leaning towards one or other of the collaborators involved in the interpersonal conflict.

Try to put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what emotions they are feeling and what are the points of friction that inhibit the resolution of the conflict.

Help Find an Agreement

Whether the conflict interests you directly, because some co-worker has problems with the boss, or whether it concerns relationships between colleagues, try to focus the discussion on the meeting points between the parties and bring the conflict to a positive resolution, rather than giving too much weight on points of disagreement.

Shedding light on the commonalities allows you to turn off destructive emotions. It opens up to the observation of a different point of view from the one on which the parties are entrenched.

Seeking agreement demonstrates a willingness to work on the shared ground and build a professional relationship around elements of mutual trust. 

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