Appropriate conflict management can pull positivity from disagreement

The Impacts Of Managing Conflict Accurately In The Workplace

More than 65% of employee performance problems are the result of workplace conflict, rather than a lack of skill or motivation. It’s crucial for leaders to stay aware of what is going on in the workplace and to identify and address issues as early as possible. An ability to appropriately manage workplace conflicts can have a direct impact on creating a happier, healthier and more productive team and workplace.

Workplace conflicts are common

Workers are people, from the executive boardroom through middle management, and all the way down to the newest hire. Everyone can have different thoughts and feelings about how interactions with each other should go, and how their ideas should be respected or valued. When employees are able to work through conflict, their differences can actually make a team stronger, However when workers react badly to conflict, it can lead to tension and stress as well as high rates of employee turnover.

Conflicting ideas, actions or decision-making

When concepts relating directly to the job are in opposition, there is a chance to work through these issues and grow stronger. Disagreement can be healthy, and allow for constructive debate. As a department manager years ago, I learned to watch for signs of disagreement and ask each member of the team to organise and present their case to the entire department.

This allows weaknesses and strengths to be examined, and each idea to be evaluated on its own merit. In many cases my workers would end up using components from both ideas, finding middle ground and creating a strong positive bond around their shared common goal. This type of conflict management took time and effort but was ultimately worth it, as it helped our organisation instead of hurting it.

Conflicting personalities

Personality clashes can be difficult to turn into productivity. When you have two employees who just rub each other the wrong way, it can be difficult to create something in such a situation. In these cases, the main goal can be management of the immediate problem and mitigation of negative effects or energy in the workplace.

Personality conflicts, especially when between two people with different levels of authority, can be very bad for business. Left ignored, this type of workplace conflict can lead to increased absenteeism, and even the loss of a valuable employee. The impacts of inaccurate management can be seen in decreased productivity, poor morale and “side-taking” by employees, turning your workplace into a divided camp.

Taking workplace conflicts based on personal enmity seriously and seeking a path to resolution can be difficult – but is nonetheless crucial. You may have to find a way to limit contact between two people or insert a third party to act as a buffer. If one is in direct supervision over the other, a shift may need to be made to prevent one party from misusing their authority.

Importance of swift and confident action to resolve workplace conflict

Sometimes workplace conflict is nothing more than a misunderstanding that if caught before bad feelings have time to develop, can be overcome and things set right. Sometimes it’s merely a disagreement over the next best action regarding a project, which can be discussed and resolved with guidance.

However, if the incident is personal, the only course may be to identify conflict early and use appropriate methods and techniques for intervention and management. This can help prevent a serious problem between two employees that could spill over into personal lives, or escalate dangerously in the workplace.

Preventing conflicts from escalating is a skill that leaders can learn and implement successfully. If you want to learn more about how to identify conflicts in the workplace and manage them confidently through effective communication to avoid escalation, contact ICML https://www.icml.com.au/conflict-management-course/. Our team can schedule an in-house workshop built around recognising and managing conflict.


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