Life-Cycle Transition

Conflict in the Workplace

What is workplace conflict?

Workplace conflict is a state of disharmony generated by the actual or perceived clash of needs, preferences, and interests between different people working together.

Conflict in the workplace cannot always be considered a bad thing. However, ignoring it is always a bad thing. Healthy conflict results in questions and discussions, bringing to light new ways of thinking and innovative solutions to problems. Negative conflict influences the performance of an employee, declining productivity.

Be conscious of the thin line separating healthy conflict and negative conflict. Keep a close watch on the signs that the conflict is turning into combat, rather than a debate. Some key things to observe are changes in employee engagement in a project, a gloomy mood in the office, and any visible signs of resentment within the teams. It is somewhat obvious and easy to spot.

Types of conflict in the workplace

Common workplace issues that employees encounter are:

  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Communication problems
  • Gossip
  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Bigotry
  • Low motivation and job satisfaction
  • Performance concerns

The workplace is typically a setting in which individuals with diverse personalities, interaction styles, and worldviews communicate with each other. These diversities are one of the most potent sources of workplace issues and can ultimately contribute to stress and tension for those concerned.

LHow to handle conflict in the workplace?

"Don't fear conflict; embrace it - it's your job.” While you can try to dodge conflict, but you cannot escape it. The fact of the matter is that conflict in the workplace is inescapable. However, you can try managing conflict at workplace.

  1. Get different perspectives:Understand that even though you may think you are right, there are several perspectives other than your own. People perceive different things with different perspectives and react accordingly. By keeping that understanding clear in your mind, you can find how to handle conflict at work without condemnation or any blame. Casting complaint is when conflicts spiral out of control, avoiding that is a key for employee conflict resolution.
  2. Communicate:Ensure that your communication, both what you say and what you understand, is transparent and clear. Miscommunication is the culprit for numerous disputes that could often be shunned quickly. Going to the source of distress and having a frank yet courteous conversation about the issue can be quite helpful. Sometimes people fail to realize that they have misinterpreted or been misquoted. Getting those sorts of situations defused, immediately takes care of non-issue conflict situations.
  3. Take action:Never allow conflict to escalate or fester. Find the cause of the conflict, and try to make it work out, talk to the concerned person face-to-face. Make yourself clear but hear others too. Managing conflict in the workplace is crucial if left unresolved it can cause bigger problems.
  4. Remain calm:Controlling the emotional reactions to conflict is a huge step in getting past the conflict negativity and resolving the issues. By keeping your calm, the issues can be addressed without rage and despair on the part of anyone concerned.

According to the stats, around 40% of workers consider their job as extremely stressful. This stress affects both professional and personal life of an individual, giving rise to numerous mental health disorders, like substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. Along with that, work stress can cause physical health problems such as heart attacks, hypertension, pain, and insomnia.

Seeking the help of a counselor in conflict resolution in the workplace can help individuals understand the whole situation with a positive outlook and make better decisions. A trained mental health expert can help in coping with the situation and reduce stress.

Resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org/Find-Support/ (800) 950-NAMI

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