The workplace is like a well-oiled machine; if there are “incompatible parts,” they can affect the productivity of the entire unit. As such, it is important as a manager to make sure that everything is running smoothly, and that all employees are cohabitating in a manner that is conducive to the productivity and success of the company. This task certainly is not an easy one, as when you have a group of employees, you also have a group of different personalities, different value sets, different backgrounds, etc., and not all of those are exactly compatible.
So what is a manager to do when the office environment is less than harmonious due to brewing personality conflicts? Below is an article from LeadingToday.org by Ben Rabon on how managers can cope with such situations.
There are several types of conflicts that people commonly encounter at work and with each type of conflict come multiple reasons for it. Generally, work place conflicts will fall into one of three categories; these are disputes over task responsibility, over how something should be done, and issues that are related to personality and work styles. The causes of the conflict can usually be attributed to these reasons: stress, lack of communication, jealousy, complacency, poor management, personality clashes, and/or poor work ethic. With all of these reasons one can see why conflict in the work place is so common. Working through the reasons as to why people get into conflict can help people work towards better understanding of why conflict develops in the work place. Being able to identify the type of conflict and reason for it will be important to helping resolve the conflict quickly and effectively.
It is important to understand the need for quick and effective management of conflicts in the work place. Persistent conflict at work can have a tremendous effect on the productivity of both the individuals engaged in the conflict as well as the coworkers that interact with them on a daily basis. When an inter-office conflict begins to affect the relationships of the office coworkers many of the following symptoms can occur: decreased trust, teamwork, quality of work, morale, loyalty, self esteem, and loss of respect for the supervisor in the work place. Once we understand the impact inner-office conflict has on the day-to-day operations of the work place it is easy to become motivated to address this issue rather than allowing it to persist.
-Second is the debates and polemics stage where discussions begin to evolve into arguments.
-The third stage is known as actions rather than words and is usually where each party will stop talking to each other.
-The fourth stage is images and coalitions. This stage can be identified as the time when each person reaches out to find other individuals that will support their side by describing the issue to them.
-Stage five is known as loss of face. Here employees will try to embarrass or discredit the other person to their coworkers in hopes that they will support their actions in the conflict.
-The sixth stage is strategies of threats where each person in the conflict will attempt to threaten the other person.
-The seventh stage that follows is known as limited destructive blows. In this stage each party will begin to identify how they will bring down the other coworker involved with the conflict.
-Stage eight is known as fragmentation.
-The last stage is known as together into the abyss. In these final stages the conflict has escalated so far that one’s own personal well being is no longer a concern and their desire to bring down the other person is so great that they give no regard to the pain that they may cause themselves. These steps illustrate how a conflict can escalate out of control if it is not addressed early in the stages of conflict. Understanding the stage of the conflict will allow
for better management of the situation.
Male, B. (1995). Managing Human Behavior in Public and Non Profit Organizations