How to Recognize a Workplace Conflict

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There will always be conflicts within every workplace. Most issues are a result of miscommunication of goals and priorities, clashing personalities, or negative politics. According to Work Place Issues, an online resource for improved communication and cooperation within the workplace, conflicts at work arise when two or more parties experience a perceived incompatibility of ideas, beliefs or goals, and each opposing party sees his side as the only way to achieve his goals and objectives. It is the duty of every leader to manage workplace conflict, swiftly and without bias, in order to maintain company and inter-department stability.

  • Ask every employee how her day is going. This should not be a contrived act. Make it a habit to ask this question of every person that you come into contact with, each day. By doing so, your team will be more open to you should a conflict arise. In addition, you will get a sense of each team member's workplace temperament.

  • Watch for coworkers who refuse to work together. This is usually the first sign of relationship issues between two employees.

  • Have regular meetings where you encourage team members to voice concerns in a constructive manner. Don't try to resolve a conflict between two people individually. Allowing one person to tell you his story, without the other party present, can result in him trying to convince you why he is correct rather than resolving the conflict.

Tips & Warnings

  • One you've been made aware of a workplace conflict, call a meeting between the parties involved immediately. Don't take sides and don't make assumptions. Have them list their concerns and refer to any conflicts as possible negatives. Then ask the parties to look at the possible positives about their relationship. Once the facts are in the open and dialogue has been established, you can begin to gain commitments from the conflicting parties to work at strengthening their relationship.

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