Where conflict arises in the workplace, be it between individual employees, employees and their managers or managers and the owners, the business cannot afford to sit by and do nothing as ultimately when conflict and ego clashes arise it is the business that suffers.
When and where conflict arises it is best to try and nip such issues in the bud at the earliest possible opportunity and it is important that owners and managers understand and appreciate why the conflict has arisen in the first place.
Conflict and ego clashes can occur at any time and at any place within your business and, where employees and managers are unable to adjust their positions and co-operate with each other, the business can suffer and an uncomfortable atmosphere can be created amongst your workforce. This can ultimately be damaging to the success and prosperity of your business.
You will have all, no doubt, heard or experienced first hand a conflict or ego clash within the workplace, with employees deliberately ignoring each other, talking over each other to colleagues and managers, as well as excluding employees from discussions and decisions when they really should be consulted. If conflict is left unresolved it can fester within your business and lead to ugly scenes of shouting matches between employees, or worse.
Small and medium businesses are particularly vulnerable because they are less likely to have had experience in dealing with ego clashes and conflict in the workplace. Also, the impact of any conflicts are likely to have a bigger influence within smaller organisations where there is more interaction necessary between employees on a regular basis.
We have set out below our top tips for recognising and dealing with conflict and ego clashes within the workplace. This should hopefully help you identify, resolve and minimise the impact of any conflicts or clashes within the business:
- Communication is key – Employers should hold regular open conversations between managers and staff. Where issues can be raised informally and discussed within a controlled environment, staff should be allowed to air any issues they have and managers/employers will then have awareness of any issues and be able to resolve them early on.
- Listen – Even if you hold regular discussions with staff, ensure that manager/owners listen and take on board what is said.
- Don’t be dismissive – You do not want to create further resentment or issues between staff and management by taking knee jerk reactions to an issue raised. This will likely lead to staff not sharing issues and matters festering within the workplace.
- Remember, a difference in opinion is healthy – Encourage and train staff on how to discuss problems and express opinions in a constructive and proactive manner to ensure an exchange of ideas as opposed to a slanging match.
- Be impartial – Managers/owners need to show they do not favour any particular member of staff due to a friendship. Stand by what is right and oppose someone when they are wrong.
At the end of the day there is always going to be clashes of ego and conflict within the workplace, but letting a minor difference of opinion or disagreement fester or escalate can prove highly destructive.
By following these simple steps and listening to staff and encouraging open discussions where issues can be aired and resolved, you can create a happier and more productive working environment that will only benefit the continued success and development of your business.