Conflict: What Is It All About?
Conflict in the workplace is inevitable, despite all our best efforts. In fact, conflict, if manager well, can be a healthy way of delivering change and improving systems and processes, in even the best-run organisations.
One person’s views and motives may well be incompatible with another’s which will result in struggles, personality clashes and disharmony, with the most common cause of conflict being arguments over the allocation and use of scarce resources.
We need to recognise that substantive conflict over working routines and working practices is arguably inevitable and that it exists in all areas of any organisation.
Some staff are victims of conflict and run the risk of being exploited because of it, others will fear conflict and will run from it while others will actively encourage it!
Assuming that conflict is a negative force in the workplace shuts out the possibility of improving and developing working practices and the most frequent area for conflict will always be around the employer/employee relationship. Similarly conflict can go unnoticed for large periods of time before it becomes apparent.
So, what should a manager do? The key point here is to reflect upon your own individual style and to use the building blocks of Emotional Intelligence (Empathy, Social Skills, Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation and Motivation) as a permanent guide in your interactions with others.
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