Accepting conflicts and differences – L’Observateur

Whether we like it or not, conflicts are an integral part of everyday life at work. And, how it is managed is key to ensuring employee engagement, retention, and morale. According to a study according to CPP Global, publisher of the Myers-Briggs Assessment, 85% of people report experiencing at least some amount of conflict at work; and surprisingly, 29% say they experience conflict almost constantly. By accepting conflict and interpersonal differences, organizations can begin to bridge the gaps and focus on the overall success of individuals and the business as a whole.

Factors Contributing to Workplace Conflict

In the CPP Global study, researchers found that the top contributor to workplace conflict was “personality or ego conflict (49%).” And while differences in opinions and working styles can naturally create conflict, the following most observed causes can be directly linked to a leader’s effect on their team.

  • Stress at work: 49%
  • High workload, low support: 34%
  • Bad leadership: 29%
  • Dishonesty/not open enough: 26%
  • Problems with supervisors: 23%
  • Unclear roles: 22%

Pre-conflict approach to mitigation

Accept differences and allow open dialogue

One of the hallmarks of a strong and healthy team is diversity. While employing people from all backgrounds and experiences, a team can have a broader and more comprehensive approach to problem solving and creativity. However, while our differences can be one of our greatest strengths, they can also be an area of ​​potential contention. Consider leaving space for open dialogue to express differences in a safe and controlled environment. The goal is not to create arguments, but to air differences and build understanding to help mitigate future conflict.

Provide conflict management training

One of the best ways to handle conflict is to be trained in conflict management before a problem arises. The CPP study found that 57% of workers had taken conflict training, and 95% of those people said the training had helped them resolve conflict at work. And while 27% of employees were more comfortable with conflict after conflict management training, 85% of employees said the training helped them get through conflict without being offended.

Open lines of communication

Having an open dialogue between employees can help resolve potential interpersonal conflicts; and enabling better communication between management and employees can go a long way in resolving conflicts caused by stress, misunderstanding, disengagement and low morale. Be clear with expectations, roles and job requirements. Be open about the state of the business and allow employees to raise questions and concerns with an open mind. If poor leadership is the cause of most conflict in your company, consider creating a feedback culture to identify problem areas and then take action to address those issues.

Resolve a conflict after a problem arises

There are many ways to handle conflict in the workplace, and while each problem calls for its own solution, it’s best to understand the time and place of all styles of conflict management. One of the tools used is the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), which describes five main conflict management styles: collaboration, competition, avoidance, accommodation and compromise.

When resolving a conflict, both parties tend to focus on either “compromise” or “collaboration” to find the best solutions. However, when compromising, both sides tend to give in, creating a lose-lose scenario where neither group gets what they want. However, by relying on a collaborative method, each party seeks “win-win” results to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs.

During conflict resolution, establish ground rules to maintain decorum. This could include describing acceptable behavior to ensure emotions are kept under control. Often times these moments can spiral out of control and get heated. Help refresh the room by taking pragmatic approaches to conflict.

Here are some steps to follow in the event of a conflict:

  • Recognize the problem
  • Identify the parties involved
  • Listen openly to both sides
  • Investigate
  • Identify ways to find a solution
  • Use one of the TKI conflict styles
  • Work on solutions
  • To follow

Express Employment Professionals serves the parishes of the river from its office in Gonzales. The company is a member of the LaPlace branch of Business 2 Business and of the Rivière Region Chamber of Commerce. For more information visit

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