Handling conflict in the workplace

Handling conflict in the workplace“Conflicts arise when there is a clash of interests and values between individuals or groups in the organization. It is a natural outcome in today’s highly competitive and stressed out work environments. A certain degree of conflict is however healthy but it should not be left unattended leading to such a stage where the productivity of the organization is adversely affected.

A HR professional working in the IT sector says, “Today’s workplaces comprise of individuals who come from varied backgrounds. As such we can expect certain differences growing among them that may lead to conflict. In order to minimize such circumstances it is good to publish some general policies and guidelines to be followed across the organization. Conflicts not only affect the employees concerned but disturb other workers as well. It is the responsibility of the team leaders and managers to recognize the presence of conflict and solve it on time. Employees not speaking to each other or always contradicting one another indicate the presence of some sort of clashes. Open communication among the various parties involved is a good way to come to a mutually beneficial solution. If the supervisor is not able to solve the problem himself he should engage a mediator for the same purpose. But in any case it should not be allowed to intensify and demoralize the employees.”

Creating awareness regarding conflict resolution techniques among senior level employees is gradually gaining importance today. A manager working in the hospitality industry says, “Office politics, gossips, poor communication and absence of professionalism can ultimately lead to conflicting situations at the workplace. Individual employees should have the right attitude and respect each others’ viewpoints. Never jump to any conclusion or blame the opposite party before you are fully aware of the situation. Do not react when you are depressed or angry. Adopt an open, impartial and flexible approach. Speak softly and avoid displaying any sort of annoying behavior. You should develop your negotiation and listening skills as far as possible. The key to success lies in being calm under pressure.”

Conflict resolution is a delicate matter. However, when handled tactfully it will lead to a more cohesive and productive work environment. It is certain that no employee will prefer to work in an unpleasant setting that will be mentally stressful. Therefore both employers and employees should take the initiative and contribute in their own way to build a peaceful workplace.


Ranjita Chattopadhyay (views expressed in the article are that of the author)


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