Conflicts In The Workplace
Difference Between A Conflict & A Dispute
Before you’re able to handle conflict, you’ll need to know if that’s what it is or whether it’s a dispute. As similar as these might seem, there’s a much larger difference between them than you’d think. While this might seem minor outside of work, it matters a lot in the business world.
It’s worth defining what these are to highlight the difference between them.
- Conflict: A conflict is when two or more parties are in opposition or have friction in their relationship. That can be based on either perceived or actual differences or incompatibilities. In many cases, these can be seen as a clash of interests or personality differences.
- Dispute: A dispute, on the other hand, can best be summed up as a disagreement over legal rights, responsibilities, or duties. That can often revolve around compensation, although it doesn’t strictly relate to finance. Alongside this, a dispute can pop up in the case of a breach of contract, such as when deliverables arrive late.
As you might see, there can be multiple differences between conflicts and disputes. You could say that disputes are much more serious than conflict, although it’s vital to deal with both. In some cases, one can turn into another.
That’s why you’ll need to handle conflict as it comes up. To do so, you’ll need to know the best solution to tackle a situation.
3 Types Of Conflict Styles
Before you can resolve conflict in the workplace, you’ll need to know what the cause of it is. Identifying the situation and determining how to handle it could be more complicated than you’d think. That’s because there are multiple types of conflict that you can come across.
Some are much more common than others. The most notable of these are:
- Task-Based Conflicts: When people work together in a team, there’s always a chance that task-based disputes will come up. These center around everyone pulling their fair share on a project. Typically, these will also revolve around someone not being able to complete or even start their job until someone else does theirs.
- Leadership Conflicts: While many interpersonal conflicts are between team members, some will be between employees and management. These can often focus on a person’s leadership style. The easiest way to avoid this is for managers to adjust their style to better suit those working under them.
- Personality-Based Conflicts: Everyone is different, and that includes their personalities. Sometimes, you’re not going to like someone based on their personality. That happens to quite a few people. Often, that can affect how you work. The best solution to overcome this is to be as empathetic as you can while minimizing any non-essential interactions with them.
There are multiple approaches to conflict resolution in the workplace. Perhaps the most notable is effective communication. Should something arise, you’ll likely need to have meetings with those involved to address the situation.
In doing so, you’ll need to aim for a win-win scenario for everyone involved, if that’s possible.
When Is It The Time For A Conflict Management Meeting?
When the situation arises, you’ll find that you’ll need to have a conflict management meeting. These will typically need to be held within 24 hours of the workplace conflict coming up. You’ll want to address things as early as possible, after all.
Meetings like these assists with managing the conflict and will help you resolve it amicably. You might be sure what’s involved in them, however. There are a few simple steps that you’ll need to take during the meet. These are:
- Setting Ground Rules: You’ll need to determine exactly how the conflict management meeting will take place. In doing so, you’ll need to make sure everyone listens to employee accounts without bias while also giving them consideration. There should also be ground rules, such as no interrupting or shouting and no escalation, among others.
- Getting Testimony: You should let everyone involved in the situation give their version of the conflict. When they’re speaking from their point of view, it’s recommended that you take notes. You’ll need to take advantage of your active listening skills here and also try to read their body language. Ask questions and address any inconsistencies in a person’s story. You’ll need to do so to determine who is telling the truth in the situation. That will typically mean using your problem solving skills.
- Common Ground: Before you can resolve conflict, you’ll need to find common ground. You could each agree that you want a positive working environment. From there, you could determine specific steps to work toward that.
- Group Work: From there, you should work as a team to address the root cause of the conflict, alongside ensuring that it doesn’t happen again. You should brainstorm solutions when doing so. Once you do, you can determine what the best solution forward will be and take things from there.
With all of this completed, you can start implementing your conflict resolutions strategies.