Even in the small business world, conflict amongst employees in the workplace is very common. The workplace is filled with a variety of opinions, personalities and values that have the tendency to clash in even the most professional of settings. It is important to deal with any conflict in a timely manner in order to maintain a healthy environment. Oftentimes people think that a conflict will simply vanish if nothing is done, but quarrels can turn into a much larger problem if not quickly dealt with. That is why it is important for managers to understand what causes employee conflict, so that they can help to correct it before it comes wholly unmanageable.
A lack of communication is one of the major causes of conflict between employees. Whether it is between two employees or between a manager and a group of employees, it is essential to communicate tasks efficiently to avoid scrutiny. Failure to communicate clearly and concisely may cause employees to make incorrect assumptions about a project. When poor communication becomes a major issue, it not only affects workplace productivity but it also decreases employee morale as well. Make sure you have set processes in order to communicate effectively, whether it is by email, in-office messenger, or a chain of command that employees must adhere to.
A typical work environment features employees with a diverse range of personalities and values. It can be easy for an employee to not understand or accept the differences of another employee. Conflict arises because personalities collide and it becomes possible to offend one another. This happens more often when there is a larger generation gap between employees, since many younger members of staff may not possess the same work values as older and more experienced workers. Employees that do not accept one another’s differences may gradually turn abusive, which intensifies the conflict. Conflicts like this may call for stronger action than just speaking to each employee in turn. If these types of issues continue, it may be time for company-wide conflict training exercises.
Competition in the workplace can be healthy and increase productivity within the workplace. However, if this type of competition becomes offensive, belligerent or aggressive, it can end up causing unhealthy conflict. When unhealthy competition is not handled properly, employees may start sabotaging their fellow work colleagues or stealing clients for their own gain. Sadly, when competition becomes hostile and unhealthy, it starts to promote selfishness and individualism, as well as discouraging teamwork, comradeship and growth within the workplace.
Conflict will naturally occur since no two employees are the same. Stopping animosity between employees is essential for a successful business, and it is imperative for businesses to implement proper procedures when it comes to conflict management. This will help to stamp out any problematic issue before it becomes too much for the department (or the company as a whole) to handle.