There are many areas in the workplace where conflict can arise and the reasons for this may not be straightforward. However, the main issues tend to revolve around perceived unfair treatment or a lack of awareness regarding internal structure. Issues that can cause conflict include:
- Unfair treatment of an employee
- Poor man management (or management on the whole)
- Unclear job specifications / role
- Inadequate training
- Poor working conditions or work environment
- Lack of equal opportunities
- Bullying and harassment
- Poor communication
As in life, there are typically four responses to any kind of conflict. These are:
Fight – a reaction in a challenging or aggressive manner. This could include loss of temper and control or raised voices leading to shouting; Often bringing irrational responses that sometimes aren’t typical of the individual.
Flight – ignoring the problem in the hope it goes away. Effectively turning a blind eye to what is actually going on.
Passive – withdrawing from the issue at hand. An employee may become passive after attempting to deal with the problem but feeling the conflict isn’t going to be resolved due to indecision or lack of support.
Facing the problem – a planned approach to deal with the issue in a calm and rational way.
Symptoms of conflict
Where it is difficult to spot symptoms of conflict, training in any kind of Conflict Management can help. TutorCare offers a range of such courses that include Conflict Management which helps with not only the identification of challenging behaviour but also deals with causes and effects in the workplace. More importantly, if you complete our “CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND CHALLENGING BEHAVIOUR AWARENESS” course you will be able to work towards a calm response to any work-related conflict.
With any training, you’ll be able to identify symptoms of conflict that include:
Sickness and absence increase: depression and stress
Productivity decrease: a lack of cohesion creates a decrease in productivity and a general increase in queries and complaints where employees fail to co-operate
Behavioural changes: members of staff making derogatory remarks or arranging fewer social events together
Motivational decrease: fewer employees volunteer to take on board new tasks or offer little input at meetings or briefings
By identifying the underlying symptoms you can then work on how to manage conflict. For individuals, this may be as simple as having a quiet word or investigating the problem informally. It may mean utilising internal procedures but more importantly, it will mean listening. Wider issues can be solved by improving the way management communicates and consults with employees. It can include forming internal working groups to tackle problems as a team or using problem-solving techniques to find joint solutions in the workplace.
It may even mean getting outside help.
The key to all of this is not only developing an acute awareness of the working environment but being prepared to listen and adapt accordingly.
TutorCare offers a wide range of training packages that deal with conflict or aggressive behaviour in the workplace. From office disagreements to handling abusive behaviour in care homes we have a solution that can be uniquely tailored to your needs.