Workplace Conflict Between Coworkers

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Resolving workplace conflicts requires all interested parties being receptive.
Resolving workplace conflicts requires all interested parties being receptive. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

At some point, just about every workplace will experience conflict between coworkers. Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing, however. Conflict arises when issues in the workplace must be addressed. Addressing the conflict in the proper manner can lead to all parties being called upon to help resolve the problem leading to the conflict, thereby increasing a bond of teamwork.

Safety

In order to eliminate workplace conflicts between coworkers, management must enact certain safeguards. These help create an atmosphere of mutual security. Conflicts resolve most easily when all interested parties feel safe, allowing them to speak freely and address any issues leading to the conflict. For purposes of conflict resolution, having the meeting occur when the possibility of interruption is reduced allows the workers and the mediators to focus fully on the issues at hand.

Communication

Communication is essential to creating a healthy workplace. When communication breaks down, it creates conflict among workers, leading to a loss of productivity and efficiency. For example, if a supervisor is told to deliver 800 units of a product but does not pass that information to a team normally producing 700 units, conflicts may arise when the increased production numbers fail to materialize. Making sure the lines of communication are always open and accessible in the workplace can defuse conflicts before they occur.

Personal Resolution

Workplace conflict does not have to involve anyone other than the conflicted parties. If a worker finds himself having issues with another worker, directly addressing the issue might allow the problem to be identified. If both parties agreed to listen to what the other party has to say, treating each other with respect and courtesy, conflict might be avoided.

Styles

There are different styles to handling workplace conflict. Each style has advantages, as well as disadvantages. For example, a worker using a competitive style of conflict resolution might simply make a decision when an immediate response is needed. While this has the advantage of getting the job done when it needs to be done, it has the disadvantage of having others feel left out of the decision-making process. Someone with an avoidance method of dealing with conflict might simply ignore it, which has the advantage of preventing a situation from escalating, but also the disadvantage of displaying weakness in the workplace.

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