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A business is a melting pot of different personalities and responsibilities. Each person plays a role in the company’s operations. While these differences can lead to more innovative ideas and solutions, they can also clash from time to time causing conflict. Conflict lets us know that there is disconnect in how things are running.

Ignoring conflict will not make it go away. In fact, it can do just the opposite and exacerbate the situation. Another futile solution is giving in to demands and backing down. This can create more conflict by giving others control. In order to promote teamwork and cohesion, managers should understand some of the underlying causes behind conflict.

Poor communication is a very common issue. When employees and leaders are not clearly relaying essential information, it can lead to breakdowns in performance as well as disagreements. This is often the result of not understanding needs and objectives, having a lack of information, or being misinformed. Frustration or incorrect work can put people at odds with one another, whereas taking the time to check for understanding regarding an assignment could clear up any confusion.

Differing personalities are also common place. Not everyone sees eye-to-eye or approaches things in the same way–one of the largest causes of conflict. When employees have opposing opinions of how something should be handled, it can cause conflict unless they are able to find compromise. It is important to remain flexible and recognize that there is more than one correct way to get to the end result. Being able to see things from more than one perspective is important.

Another cause of conflict can stem from poor role clarity. Leaders and employees should understand how they fit into the company and each project. When roles are muddled and more than one person feels accountable for certain responsibilities (or there is no accountability at all), this can result in disagreements. Expectations should be clearly defined to reduce power struggles and confusion.

Along the same lines, no clear goals or direction can be problematic as well. Employees should know what they are working toward and why it matters. A lack of connection or engagement leaves room for differences in opinion and action. Employees may create their own agenda rather than working together for the good of the group.

How managers handle these conflicts plays a significant role in the workplace environment. Letting conflicts linger unresolved can have a negative impact on morale and productivity. It can also increase turnover rate. Leaders should stay alert to potential issues and remain proactive in heading them off. When conflicts do arise, they should work with employees to find compromise and common ground. Taking the time to address problems can help ward off future issues and promote better communication and productivity. Employees may also lose trust or respect for leaders who ignore problems and do not facilitate a positive work environment where they feel respected and supported.

Don’t let poor conflict resolution skills hold you back from becoming a more effective leader. Assert yourself in a positive way and build trust with guidance from the team at JP Kantor Consulting. Learn to be proactive rather than reactive and implement solutions that work. Contact JP Kantor Consulting to refine your skills and maximize your potential.