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Workplace conflict, don’t ignore the signs.

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Conflict is part of our daily lives, and it can have a very negative impact on our relationships. However, well-managed conflict can bring about positive change. It has been found that 85% of employees deal with conflict at work at some point, and 29% of employees deal with it almost constantly.

The ability to communicate successfully is among the most sought-after soft skills in the workplace, whether you’re dealing with the differences or demands of your employees, colleagues, managers, suppliers, or clients. Conflict can arise in any organisation and in any industry - anywhere where people who have different beliefs, opinions and ways of working are sharing the same space! Whether it’s just two individuals or a group of people.

A conflict that is handled poorly, or not handled at all, can cause irreparable damage to your organisation's productivity and reputation. Let’s focus on the following points.

Power dynamics in conflict are unavoidable

CIPD research has uncovered a clear power dynamic in workplace conflict. We are more likely to report conflict with our managers than other people we work with and more likely to experience serious consequences from that conflict and feel that it remains unresolved. Not only do people experiencing conflict need to feel their voices are properly heard, but outcomes are far more likely to ‘stick’ if the parties themselves develop them.

Early resolution is best

We know this, and yet we often brush low-level conflict and festering relationships under the carpet, hoping they go away. Avoiding conflict is a natural response, but there are times we must bite the bullet and address conflict constructively as early as possible. Although these conversations can be unpleasant or nerve-wracking, they don’t have to be difficult. The key thing is to have the conversation in the first place. The earlier you can do that, the easier it will be.

Structure, process, and culture can create and exacerbate conflict

Conflict is an inevitable part of working life. However, it is often created and exacerbated by organisational structures and processes and how they are managed and implemented. Performance targets, resource allocation, lines of management and organisational cultures that are unnecessarily competitive can pit people or teams against each other. This underlines the need for leadership to be more compassionate and inclusive and for conflict management to be a central consideration in organisational strategy. Without this, ad hoc initiatives and innovations will have little impact and, even worse, may seem tokenistic and at odds with the experience of workers and employees.

If you require conflict resolution training, then please get in touch today.



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