What are the main causes of workplace conflict?
The causes of conflict will be different in each industry and workplace. Unfortunately office politics are prevalent in most workplaces. Office politics basically refers to the differences between people at work; conflicts of interests and differences in opinions can impact on workplace relationships. The most common forms of this type of workplace conflict are in fact power struggles.
How to prevent conflict from arising
To limit the amount of conflict in the workplace, open communication is key. It is important to focus on business objectives and what’s best for the business. On a personal level, taking an understanding and positive approach will put you in the best position.
Conflict resolution strategies:
Often employees can find themselves stuck in the middle of conflict, when this happens it is crucial to concentrate on the business objectives and not to take sides. Whilst you will want to ensure that individuals involved do get their grievances heard and resolved, the effect that this will have on your business itself also needs to be taken into account as an important consideration. For this reason, you will need to ensure that you business has effective conflict resolution strategies in place.
Such a strategy will commence with the mediation process itself. Communicating with both parties openly and in the same manner will help to resolve conflict and keep the encounters constructive.
An effective dispute resolution procedure is to be able to reach an outcome acceptable to both parties you first need to understand the situation from each perspective. The ultimate aim is to seek a resolution that’s beneficial to both parties.
What not to do
Although office politics have a negative connotation, there really is no need for it, it is a normal part of human communication (not to mention that it is one of the most common causes of conflict in the workplace) and there are ways to manage it.
Be sure to focus only on conflict resolution strategies that are positive in their nature. Absolute no-no’s when managing conflict are to fight back, take sides or to make it personal. This short-term emotional outlet to something that is out of your control will not accomplish anything. Remember that you have a choice in how you want to react to workplace conflict and that this can affect your career.
Image credit: Dylan Jones, South Africa
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