Workplace Conflict is one of the most typical issues in the workplace. According to the CPP Global Human Capital Report, 85 percent of workers suffer workplace conflict. Researchers discovered that the average employee spends 2.1 hours per week dealing with workplace conflict resolution. This amounted to each employee spending around one full day each month dealing with workplace issues with coworkers and leaders. Negative interactions cost businesses around $359 billion each year, according to these figures. Workplace conflict generates a poisonous team culture, adds to the inability to achieve company goals, causes organizations to lose exceptional personnel, affects absence rates, and even results in business collapse.
So how can executives stop this problem from occurring?
Let’s discover genuine answers to the top five most prevalent types of workplace conflict listed below to learn how to develop an effective, productive, and engaged team.
Type of Conflict #1: Clashing Leadership Styles
Every person in a leadership position has a unique manner of influencing the people for whom they are responsible in order to achieve company goals. Leaders often have a dominant leadership style that determines how they guide their direct subordinates based on inherent and taught leadership attributes. Each of the seven leadership styles has advantages and disadvantages. When assembling a well-rounded, effective senior leadership team, look for individuals who can fill in the gaps where the team may be better.
Nonetheless, different management approaches can be divisive. As a result, workplace conflict can occur between leaders who function in quite different ways. A democratic leader, for example, wants each of their employees to have a say in the company’s activities, whereas an authoritarian leader wants ultimate control over the organization. When there is no resolution to workplace disagreement across leadership styles, work environments become toxic, and the team becomes inefficient in accomplishing the company’s collective vision.
The first stage in conflict resolution amongst leaders with diverse leadership styles is to become aware. This process starts during the hiring process. As a result, it’s critical that leadership teams understand each possible hire’s dominant leadership style and how it differs from, but complements, the existing team.
Another strategy for resolving leadership dispute is to convey respect and appreciation for other points of view and ways of thinking. Remember, this is most likely why the individual was requested to join the team in the first place. Finding value in the thoughts and ideas of others helps to build a team culture of respect and gratitude.
Additionally, when dispute resolution is essential, devote some time to focusing on the organization’s overall, common aim. Regardless of their leadership styles, the executive team should always be aware of why and how they are assisting others in carrying out the company’s objective. First, figure out what you can all agree on. Next, approach a solution by collaborating on how to attain the desired goal by leveraging your particular abilities.
Type of Conflict #2: Argumentative Team Members
Have you ever worked with someone who appears to be inherently argumentative? For example, they employ a defensive tone when asked to take on a new duty, or they speak aggressively to other team members during meetings, producing awkward, tense times.
Conflict resolution may be difficult in this case because, if the individual has already demonstrated negative behavior, it may appear that confrontation may exacerbate the situation. Nonetheless, as an effective leader, it is critical that you foster and safeguard the growth of a healthy work environment. This cannot be accomplished if someone on the team engages in confrontational, destructive conduct toward you and others.
During the onboarding phase, begin setting expectations for behavior and behaviors at work. This ensures that an employee understands the type of team culture they are signing up for. Make sure you explain the company’s cultural values and ideals verbally and in writing at this time. Finally, have them sign an agreement to be held accountable for what was stated. If you haven’t already, make this a part of your onboarding process going forward so that employees can be treated correctly if they become problematic. Meet with team members who break the cultural standards of the organization. Begin by mentioning that you’ve noticed a change in their behavior and inquiring as to why this has occurred. It is critical that you first listen to their reasons before accusing them of undermining the team. Determine whether there is anything you can do to assist them based on their response. For example, they could be suffering from burnout, which is prompting them to lash out. Check in with employees who indicate that their confrontational behavior is caused by stress, worry, or other more serious factors. Make it clear that you are there to help them.
If they are arguing for no good reason, refer to the outline provided upon onboarding. Make it clear that you will hold them accountable for their actions. Allow them to go if their argumentativeness becomes a consistent source of workplace friction. Team members should always contribute positively to the positive work atmosphere you’ve built. You don’t want to lose fantastic team members due to an issue employee.
Type of Conflict #3: “Office Politics” and Gossip
Handling office politics and gossip is one of the most prevalent sorts of workplace conflict you’ll face as a leader. Every new team member either adds to or subtracts from the company’s culture. Some hires have a good impact on the team, while others may just appear to be so during the interview process. This type of behavior, like dealing with a contentious employee, should never be disregarded or dismissed. Office drama can have a negative impact on a team’s morale, lower retention rates, reduce business efficiency, and even influence an organization’s bottom line.
A rigorous hiring procedure is the best approach to prevent toxicity caused by negatively influenced staff. Create a thorough process that each candidate must go through. Make no exceptions for anybody, regardless of how long you’ve known them or how well you connect with them during the initial interview. Skipping or ignoring critical procedures such as calling references may cost you in the end.
In addition to spending significant time vetting applicants, structure the organization with a “zero tolerance” for rumor. Create safeguards, for example, to preserve the privacy of personal information. If someone is detected violating a policy, utilize pre-determined disciplinary action.
Finally, as the company’s leader, you must set the example that gossip is not tolerated. Serve as a constructive influence, teach employees how to lead, and be a servant leader. If you overhear a group or individual chatting, put a stop to it before it develops to workplace problems. Intervene, speak with individuals or groups engaging in unhealthy workplace practices, and make them know you’re serious about creating a team culture that lifts people up rather than tearing them down.
Type of Conflict #4: Discrimination
Discrimination is the most serious source of workplace conflict cited. Unfortunately, this is a prevalent issue in business. In 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cited 76,418 claims of workplace discrimination. Cases of discrimination should typically be handled by the company’s human resources department. Nonetheless, it is possible that an employee will approach you about it. Whether the team member simply wants your attention or is serious about filing a formal complaint, it’s critical that businesses have a procedure in place to handle claims of unfair treatment. If not addressed properly, this can lead to emotional harm, sadness, and resentment. Unaddressed or unresolved reports of discrimination can also result in major legal consequences for businesses.
When an employee comes to you with a discrimination complaint, take it seriously. Listen, inquire, and express your support. As previously said, they may be concerned about getting someone in trouble. In any case, notify human resources so that a record of the incident is kept. Launch an inquiry into the problem with the help of a competent specialist who handles these types of instances. They will acquire a statement from the employee, interview any witnesses, and perform extensive study into the situation.
Meanwhile, as the company’s CEO, you must determine how to handle the problem while the investigation’s findings are still pending. Meet with your leadership team to determine the best short- and long-term solution to the situation. For example, you could request that the accused work from home until the investigation is completed. Plan the corrective action that the company will take if the inquiry reveals that they are at fault. Follow up with the person who was discriminated against at the end of the investigation. Inform them of the steps the company is doing to secure their safety.
Type of Conflict #5: Putting Out Fires
Putting out flames for staff is one of the most draining aspects of leadership. However, as a leader, you must exercise time management in order to complete your top priorities. Interfering in other people’s affairs takes time away from the critical work you need to do. Nonetheless, team members sometimes rely on their manager as a crutch when they are unsure how to handle a mistake, error, or difficulty. There are two explanations for this form of workplace dispute. The first is that something is wrong with the company’s processes. Getting involved in firefighting can also occur when individuals lack the leadership traits required for proactively addressing hurdles before requesting someone else to intervene.
Consider why you are spending the majority of your day putting out fires. Make certain that you are doing everything possible to help your personnel succeed. Is work, for example, going through the cracks because the organization lacks workflow processes? Whether you’re just starting a firm or have been in operation for decades, it’s critical that companies use tools like a project management app to manage activities and achieve corporate goals. Team members require work to be laid out in an efficient method so that no one mistakenly drops the ball. These tools can also establish automatic, customizable workflows over time.
If this isn’t the case, putting out flames is most usually the result of not encouraging the team to improve their problem-solving skills. Review the initial goal, identify the fundamental cause of the problem, investigate solutions, determine the best resolution utilizing a 5-step decision-making process, establish an action plan, then test and monitor how they decided to handle the problem. Work through this procedure with them the first time. When an issue arises and they want you to intervene, instruct them to use this strategy on their own. Once they’ve made a decision, ask them to explain their solution and why they believe it will work. If a problem arises again, merely request the outcome rather than the remedy.
Following these strategies may help you resolving the workplace conflicts. Resolving the conflicts will not be the final solution. Better we all should focus on preventing the scopes of conflicts.