Strategies for Managing Workplace Conflict – Today’s Talk On Purpose With Shad Ali – 190502
First, let me say I am amazed but not entirely surprised by the extent to which Workplace Conflict has become prevalent. And this view is validated by research data and real-world experience even as recent as two days ago.
Studies indicate: 25 percent of employees surveyed in 1998 reported being treated rudely at work at least once a week and That figure rose to 55 percent in 2011 and rose again to 62 percent in 2016,
Another study from the UK this time found that four in 10 employees reported having experienced some form of interpersonal conflict at work in the last year. Oh and 85% say they deal with conflict to some extent at work; 29% of them say it occurs always or frequently.
Now, should we be concerned about this? Well consider the impacts:
- It costs organizations on average $12,000. in Employee turnover costs per toxic employee;
- Employees spend on average one day per month dealing with Conflict
- Managers can spend as much as 1/3 of their time dealing with conflict issues.
And I encourage you to visit onpurpose.ca and calculate the costs of employee disengagement in your workplace, we have a quick and simple calculator there that can help.
While there are several causes of workplace conflict, among them being: poor communication; Incomplete, incorrect or ambiguous information (Assumptions); inappropriate management styles; Cultural, social or personal uniqueness and sensitivities; Inappropriate use of authority; Opposing positions, competitive tensions, power struggles, ego, pride, jealousy, performance discrepancies, compensation issues, or someone just having a bad day.
As for the effects, well they are several to including work disruption; decreased productivity; project failure; absenteeism; turnover; voluntary and involuntary termination; and of course, Emotional stress can be both a cause and an effect of workplace conflict. You know, our Stages of growth X-Ray process is pretty good at detecting these types of issues and helping leaders cut them off at the pass, so that’s something worth looking in to.
So, what can managers and leaders do to address and maybe stem or arrest workplace conflict?
- Well start by defining acceptable behaviour,
- Have open dialogue about conflict and address it head on
- View conflict as an opportunity
- Foster interactive communication. Communication that is clear and respectful can help build trust between and among employees and managers
- Build and foster Trust environments. The absence of trust among employees and managers can compromise communication all around and the presence of Trust can accelerate performance, productivity and results.
- Encourage Empathy. When people are sensitive to colleague’s feelings and show empathy and awareness wow, this is central to establishing a trusting relationship among
- Set clear expectations and communicate up and down the line.
- Commit to Conflict resolution Although conflicts arise in every organization, the methods to handle them vary. Managers and leaders must deal with workplace conflict issues head-on and resolve disputes fairly and quickly or they will escalate and gain amplitude.
While not a complete list of strategies the aforenoted is a good start anyway. So take action on these strategies for addressing workplace conflict – Today’s Talk On Purpose With Shad Ali.
In today’s Talk On Purpose with Shad Ali 190416: our video Blog Post Shad tackles the subject: As human beings, we can handle any size what if we have a large enough why. Some of you may have heard Simon Sinek and his book start with why, some perhaps heard it from St Francis of Assisi, or maybe even fewer yet might have seen it referenced to Patanjali.
Check out today’s Video Blog Post.
We are beginning a new feature which we have entitled Today’s Talk On Purpose with Shad Ali. And for this our inaugural episode, we have chosen the topic: “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Check out the video blog for more and then come back often for future episodes.
At On Purpose Leadership Inc. we work with a large number of teams to understand what drives success, what inhibits performance and what fosters cohesiveness. Through this work, we have learned that a high performing team is more than a group of people who have learned to cooperate with one another. True teams share a common, compelling goal and capitalize on the uniqueness that each team member brings to the table. High performing teams create a culture that values people and clearly defines the character and behavior the team strives to achieve.
Ask any manager what they look for most when hiring a candidate, and they will likely tell you it is the ability to be an effective team player. High performing teams hold themselves accountable at both the individual and team level. Team members count on each other to complete assigned tasks with a standard of quality within an agreed upon time frame.
Individual team members are the key to overall team success. In order to become a high performing team, each team member must participate fully by committing to the following guiding principles:
- Define clarity of purpose and set expectations
When all members of the team have one common goal, it is much easier to assign tasks and establish timeframes and deadlines. Clear and direct expectations sharpen the focus and lessen the chance for division among the team.
- Commit to cooperation and thoughtful consideration of other members
Strong and successful teams are not only cooperative, but considerate. It is perfectly fine for a team member to make an alternate suggestion provided it is presented in a way that is constructive and positive. The focus should always be on the project, not the person, so any and all new ideas should be encouraged for the betterment of the project. If those ideas are not implemented, team members know not to take it personally.
- Embrace the collective
Highly effective teams understand that every member brings specific technical and interpersonal skills to a task or project. What may be the best role for a person on one project, may not be the most optimum role in another. Accept feedback from all members of the team but understand the specialized talents certain members of the team possess and get the most out of those talents.
- Build camaraderie
The best way to tighten the bonds of the team is to lift its members. If there is a common respect among all team members, these differences can be used as advantages. Acknowledge acts of kindness, jobs well done and great ideas.
- Navigate the team’s values with integrity
Strong values ensure a positive, productive and ethical working environment. Values are the emotional rules that guide behavior, attitudes and actions. Although values are generally slow to change and strongly held, they actually define the character and culture the organization strives to possess.
Each team member should clearly understand their level of empowerment, decision-making authority and team norms. For example, your personal standard might be to respond to an email within 24 hours. But, if the team’s collective behavior places a high-premium on work-life balance, you may want to send that email on Monday morning rather than disrupting team members by sending it on a Friday night.
Example of The On Purpose Team Insights Report:
- Celebrate success and commemorate the journey
When a great project has been successfully completed, it is important for all members to celebrate. A casual get together can strengthen the bonds of the team members and gives them even more motivation to successfully complete their next task!
High performing teams hold themselves accountable at both the individual and team level. Team members count on each other and bring a strong sense of purpose and an internal compass that gives the team what is needed for success.
To further understand the dynamics of high performing teams, we have built our Building and Sustaining High Performing Teams Program and our unique T.E.A.M.S Assessment. For more information on these tools, please click here.
On Purpose Leadership Note: The above is adapted from an Article by, and we give our thanks to, Kathy Wentworth Drahosz. On Purpose Leadership is an Approved Provider partner of TTI Success Insights.
Only People can be made to appreciate in value – by improving their productivity.
Productivity continues to challenge organizations and today that challenge is even greater than ever. All the economic and social gains of the 20th Century rests on the achievements and productivity of the “Manual Worker”. We have all heard of concepts as: Task Analysis; Task Management; Scientific Management; Industrial Management; Rationalization, Total Quality Management and Just-In-Time Delivery, all attempting to get at increased production and enhanced performance of organizations and their people.
Impact of The Manual Worker
Historically these approaches were developed in response to the “Manual Worker” organizing principle. In all likelihood, this will continue to be the organizing principle in countries where manual work is the growth sector of society and economy – largely “Third World” or developing countries. However, in developed countries such as Canada and the United States, the central organizing principle has shifted from how to make the “Manual Worker” productive to how to make the “Knowledge Worker” productive. “Knowledge Workers” have and are rapidly becoming the largest single group in the workforce, and may already comprise as much as two-fifths of the workforce, of every developed country including Canada and the US.
This shift in organizing principle will undoubtedly require a shift in our thinking. Up until now economic theory and most business practice have viewed manual workers as a cost. As we all know costs need to be controlled and reduced to affect the bottom line. Contrary to this model, however, “Knowledge Workers”, in order to be productive, must be considered a capital asset. And assets need to be made to grow. This undoubtedly will have its most positive effect on the “Top Line”.
A recent Canadian report on the knowledge economy produced by an expert panel on skills has identified that Canadian employees have excellent technical skills. However finding people who, in addition to their technical know-how, have the ability to communicate effectively, work in teams, and act as managers is difficult for most organizations. According to the report: “Employers have more difficulty recruiting senior level people who combine a solid technical background with experience and management skills such as – project management, strategic planning, marketing and business writing… requirements such as teamwork, problem-solving, and a willingness to learn were difficult to fill.”
Management Challenges for the 21st Century
In his book Management Challenges for the 21st Century Peter Drucker suggests the following six Factors as key to determining “Knowledge-Worker” productivity:
- “Knowledge-Worker” productivity demands that we ask the question: “what is the task?”
- It demands that we impose the responsibility for their productivity on the individual knowledge worker themselves. Knowledge workers have to manage themselves. They have to have autonomy.
- Continuing innovation has to be part of the work, the task and the responsibility of knowledge workers.
- Knowledge work requires continuous learning on the part of the knowledge worker, but equally continuous teaching on the part of the knowledge worker.
- Productivity of the knowledge worker is not – at least not primarily – a matter of the quantity of output. Quality is at least as important.
- Finally, knowledge-worker productivity requires that the knowledge worker is both seen and treated as an “asset” rather than a “cost”. It requires that knowledge workers want to work for the organization in preference to all other opportunities.
We have known for some time that 80 percent or more of each of our success is mental. That is to say; what we achieve is determined primarily by the way we think about our self, our life, and the people around us. As we change the quality of our thinking, we change the quality of everything we do! And there is very little we cannot accomplish once we put our mind to it!”
How organizations respond to this acknowledgement will be a key determinant of their success in growing, to full fruition, the asset that is the “Knowledge Worker”.
Productivity Solution On Purpose
At On Purpose Leadership Inc. our team of seasoned professionals work with clients to create breakthroughs and assist them in moving systematically and decisively towards extraordinary results.
Our facilitated processes create a learning culture that results in maximum growth and a position of strength for the client participant and their organization. Our interactions serve to develop skills and intensify motivation of people at all levels. The bottom line is to positively affect key performance outcomes and sustainable long-term personal, professional and organizational development.
We can take you and your people through a path to success using our proven successful structured programs. Reference:
We will also work with you to tailor-make programs that combine your insight and our world-class training process and methodology.