Conflict at the Workplace
Is conflict good, bad or necessary?
Conflict is not a bad thing in itself. Conflicts can often result in resolution of issues. Yet, conflicts and conflict resolution can cause a lot of discord and wasted energy in any and all workplaces, businesses and organizations.
One preventable cause of workplace battles is that organizational roles are not clearly and fully defined. True, nothing in life is 100 %.Â Still, if possible, during planning and coordination phases of the organization and layout of businesses, their departmentsâ€™ organizational structure should be clearly laid out and defined.Â Some of the considerations involved include:
1) Reporting Structure:
It should be clearly laid out and defined who reports to whom. Reporting structures should be as clear as possible. They should be easily and clearly be able to be detailed on a flow chart and on paper. This way itâ€™s clear to all involved with no conflicts left to arise over time and events.
2) Educational and Experience Qualifications:
In todayâ€™s workplace, often educational experience and qualifications count. In the old days, nothing was really defined and people often learned on the job. Today, everyone wants to be covered should events go wrong that the people â€“ or least those in authority positions – have valid and full qualifications.
True, itâ€™s often a mixture of real world experience, education and performance on the job. Yet, while its true that there are â€œno schools for presidentsâ€ and that many vital or even eclectic skills are learned via personal interest and interactions between individuals who interact on the internet, having a laid down policy and statements serve as a starting point for discussions and decisions, which can later serve as justifications in organizational structure command and control decisions and follow through.
3) Time Spent on Tasks & Prioritization:
Everything in life and on the job has a value and relative value spent and assigned to it. Management must have a concept of the time costs which should be assigned to various tasks and projects. Hence, management as well as workers will have an idea of what is a reasonable and acceptable resource cost to the business or organization.
4) Nature and Scope of Problem Solving:
A simple process should be laid out, explained and made clear – regarding the identification and solving of problems. Smaller problems that can be taken care of on the floor can be left alone to be taken care on the spot. However, if a problem or issue has great potential consequences or the ability to cause substantial damage to the organization, then a clear process and procedure should be detailed and made known to staff. This way, management can be alerted of the situation and assign people and resources both to it and to track events as well.
5) Conclusion & Importance of Communication:
Lastly, it must be driven home that all of the above are great in theory. Yet if the all of the above â€“ reporting structures, education and experience, time spent on task as well as nature and scope of problem solving are not clearly, fully and easily detailed and communicated to staff, supervisory and management staff, its all for naught.
You can bet your bottom dollar that conflicts will no doubt arise in the office, on the factory floor and within sales staff. Hence itâ€™s not only a question of planning and writing of directives but ultimately in the end, full and crystal clear communication of all.
About Simpson D. Burdyny:
Simpson shares many years’ experience and expertise in the human resources and conflict resolution management consultant and consultancy fields. Doing business in the private sector and crossing lines with government departments is not news to him. Its frequently said by Simpson that not only does he have his own ways but “if there is a will, there is a way”.