An Analysis of Conflict in the Workplace

If you are a team leader, one of the situations you probably dread dealing with most is that of conflict at work. Some studies have reported that human resources managers spend as much as 60 percent of their professional time coping with employee conflict. Whether you are a small business owner managing a few individuals or serve at the top levels of a multinational corporation, you understand that interpersonal conflicts can waste time and money and significantly lower morale.

Some experts have described five main styles of conflict resolution: avoidance, accommodation, compromise, collaboration, and confrontation. Because of the greater latitude of their authority, managers possess the ability to shift between styles as needed. Take advantage of this fact by becoming more deliberate in your choice of conflict resolution style and use that most appropriate to each situation. Remember that avoided conflicts tend to assume a greater and greater role within a workplace.

Conflicts can stem from several sources. Some of the most common reasons for conflict involve miscommunication, lack of information, or lack of ability to use available information effectively. Aim for clear, concise communication that keeps all relevant stakeholders in the loop. Another cause of conflict is misdirected emotion: Try to avoid the common pitfall of making vital decisions based solely on your own feelings. Instead, focus on objective data that can yield measurable results. As a manager, you have the ability to model successful decision-making processes for your employees.

Business innovators understand that true leadership always comes with some degree of conflict and advise embracing it rather than becoming afraid of it. Learn to recognize and acknowledge conflict as it develops. Concentrate on identifying its point of origin. This knowledge will assist you in achieving greater productivity in any workplace.