Dealing With Conflicts at Work

Conflicts at work can take many forms: it may be two employees who are not getting along with each other, a worker filing complaints to his manager or an emerging rivalry between departments. While some conflicts may go away when given some time, at times they need to be dealt with immediately to be resolved.


Causes of conflicts

There are many causes of conflicts at work, some include:

  • Poor management
  • Unfair treatment
  • Bullying
  • Unclear job description
  • Lack of communication
  • Increase in workload
  • Different needs and expectations at work
  • Personality clashes
  • Cultural difference

Resolving conflicts

While resolving conflicts between two employees may be as simple as sitting down and talking it through over a cup of coffee, others may require following company guidelines of filing complaints. No matter what it is, here are five different ways to resolve conflicts at work:

1.    Avoidance

This may work for smaller conflicts, such as an employee avoiding to work near a colleague’s desk because the person always turns on music during working hours. Sometimes it’s best not to offend a co-worker when you can afford to.

2.    Accommodation

Accommodation refers to focusing on immediate needs for the individuals who have conflicts. Therefore, instead of focusing on the problem or differences, accommodation method puts emphasis on both individuals’ common grounds in such ways that the conflict simmers down, for example by focusing on the greater goal.

3.    Compromise

This way of managing conflict requires both parties to voice their displeasure and make compromises – it’s not enough for one party to do it, both parties must work together in order to synergize. Compromising requires trust and respect.

4.    Competition

While competition is not really the perfect way to resolve conflict, this method is referred to as the better way of resolving the issue instead of fighting or arguing. Both parties who argue on a certain topic may need to prove to ‘win’ the contests to have his or her demands met. This method is often saved as a last resort.

5.    Collaboration

Collaboration is the best way to manage conflicts. This method emphasises on both parties setting aside their differences and work together to accomplish the objective in a way that satisfies everyone. While two employees may have different views on how to get the client, they can collaborate on their strategies. This method encourages teamwork and cooperation.

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