When a group of people come together to achieve a common goal, conflict becomes inevitable. However, conflict in the workplace can be effectively managed with proper communication.
Embrace the conflict
If you are facing constant conflict with your team member, then you should know that workplace conflict is common. According to research, over 85% of working people experience conflict in the workplace. Moreover, 29% of employees claim they cope with workplace conflict on a daily basis.
However, when you try to avoid or eliminate workplace conflict, it can actually get worse. We need to accept and embrace conflict in the workplace in a healthy way, as if it is an unwritten part of our job description. Irrespective of how much we try to eliminate it, the fact remains that we can never truly escape from conflict.
In a Forbes article, author, leadership advisor and chairman at N2Growth, Mike Myatt writes “conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. It will find you whether you look for it or not. The ability to recognize conflict, understand the nature of conflict, and to be able to bring swift and just resolution to conflict will serve you well as a leader – the inability to do so may well be your downfall.”
Vanessa Van Edwards, national best selling author and founder of Science of People, shares a similar belief. In a recent post, she writes “Trying to eliminate conflict entirely won’t get you very far – the solution is learning to handle it properly when it does arise.”
Is conflict affecting your work? Read How To Deal With Passive Aggressive People In Your Life
Workplace conflict primarily signifies that there is a lack of clear communication between team members. It also means that they are not properly equipped to deal with disagreements, arguments and conflict in a healthier way while working.
Mike writes “Conflict rarely resolves itself – in fact, conflict normally escalates if not dealt with proactively and properly. It is not at all uncommon to see what might have been a non-event manifest itself into a monumental problem if not resolved early on.” He adds “Unresolved conflict often results in loss of productivity, the stifling of creativity, and the creation of barriers to cooperation and collaboration.”
Stress and conflict: A match made in the workplace
Even if you have an excellent team composed of talented and skilled members, it is highly likely that you will experience conflict in the workplace eventually. And one of the main reasons for workplace conflict is work-related stress.
According to a 2016 study, occupational stress can often lead to conflict at work and in personal life. Moreover, it can also lead to depressive symptoms. The study states “Previous studies in various populations suggest that social anxiety, work-related stress, and stressful life events may contribute to depression. Various occupational stressors have been identified as potential risk factors for depressive symptoms.”
The research paper adds that depression “can result in direct economic costs by reducing productivity, because depressive symptoms have an impact on their decision-making and ability to get along with others.”
Do you feel stressed at work? Read How to Stop Absorbing a Coworker’s Stress
According to author Vanessa Van Edwards, “an estimated 34 percent of conflict is caused by workplace stress.” She adds that different kinds of workplace stress can lead to problems among team members. These can include issues like –
- Meeting deadlines
- Managing important decisions
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Loss of a team member
- Recruitment of a new team member
The toxic element
Apart from stress, sometimes conflicts can arise in the workplace due to certain difficult people. Some team members are just toxic individuals who are really difficult to get along with. The behavior of these toxic team members can not only affect the team dynamics, but also cripple the productivity of the team. Toxic personalities at the workplace are a reality and should be dealt tactfully.