Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Conflict Management at the Workplace

"Patience is the key to paradise"---Turkish Proverb
Conflict is something that no one has ever got a chance to avoid at their workplace. One of the reasons of conflict is perception. Hence understanding the Nature of Perception is very important. It’s not only the responsibility of only the HR personnel to intervene in such conflicts. Organisation leaders are also responsible for creating a work environment that enables people to thrive. If turf wars, disagreements and differences of opinion escalate into interpersonal conflict, they must intervene immediately and not wait for someone else to come and intervene.
Conflict can occur with two or more people who, despite their first attempts at agreement, do not yet have agreement on a course of action, usually because their values, perspectives and opinions are contradictory in nature. Conflict can occur:
  1. Within a when they are not living according to their values.
  2. When their values and perspectives are threatened.
  3. When there is discomfort from fear of the unknown or from lack of fulfillment.
Here comes the role of a manager apart from the HR to handle the conflicts at their levels. The question comes, what can they really do about this? Well, there are certain actions that a manager can take from time to time to minimize and to certain extent avoid the conflicts.
  1. Regularly review of the job descriptions of the employees should be done and employee’s should be encouraged to give their inputs for the same. Also it should me made sure that job roles do not conflict and no tasks “fall in a crack”.
  2. Intentionally relationships should be built with all the subordinates. Meeting should be scheduled at least once a month alone with them in office to ask about their accomplishments, challenges and issues.
  3. Getting regular and time to time , written status reports from the subordinates that describe accomplishments, current issues and needs from management and plans for the upcoming period.
  4. Basic trainings to be conducted about interpersonal communications, conflict management and delegation.
  5. Developing procedures for routine tasks and having the employees’ write procedures when possible and appropriate. Getting the employees review of the procedures and also training them about the procedures.
  6. Regularly holding management meetings with all employees. For example, every month, communicating new initiatives and status of current products or services.
  7. Considering an anonymous suggestion box in which employees can provide suggestions. This can be powerful means to collect honest feedback, especially in very conflicted workplaces. However, there is other side to the coin as well. Conflict is inevitable and often necessary when forming high-performing teams because they evolve through “form, storm, norm and perform” periods.

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