It’s natural to experience some conflict within a workplace from time to time, we are bringing together lots of different people with diverse skillsets to make the business function. That does in itself create a potential for clashes of personality from the outset.
In my experience, one of the most common causes of conflict occurs when personalities clash, not everyone in an office or workplace will get along. And whilst that’s ok, we’re not always in the workplace to make friends, however, we are there to work together to achieve a common goal. So, one of the most challenging things people managers may have to face is understanding the personalities on the team (and the way they work) and seeing how to manage those for the best of everyone.
Other areas of conflict can happen when work stresses are present or workloads are high, we all manage stress differently and as a manager it can be a tricky job to spot these signs and diffuse the situation as quickly as possible.
In fact, many conflicts can occur from non-work-related issues. If employees have a lot going on in their personal lives, this can spill into their work and perhaps cause them to respond out of character or differently than they may ordinarily do, to their colleagues.
When managing conflict, I always find its best dealt with it as soon as possible. In my experience, if these things are left, they can escalate very quickly and cause an atmosphere for the rest of the team and have a negative impact on performance and morale.
As a manager dealing with conflict, it’s important to remain impartial, and allow each member involved, a chance to put their side across in a neutral setting. This is often referred to as mediation. I do find it’s always good practice to outline the boundaries for the meeting ahead of time, and let each party know what format the meeting will take place. Having prior knowledge will definitely help diffuse any anxiety/stress related to it, it’s already likely to be an emotional situation. Mediation is great as often, smaller issues can be resolved in a more informal setting before you have to think about going down a more formal route.
Managing conflict in the workplace is not an easy task, especially where personality clashes are concerned. Many employers do not take lightly to this kind of conflict, and it can result in disciplinary action being taken. Managing big personalities can be challenging, and emotionally draining.
Creating a happy and harmonious workplace is something I’m passionate about, I don’t particularly enjoy conflict, in fact who does?
That’s why I work with clients offering manager coaching, mentoring, and group training sessions covering conflict resolution, understanding, and managing personality traits and more. If you’re looking to improve your managerial competence, toolkit or bring you teams closer together, then do get in touch and let’s chat.