Boss At His Best: Workplace Conflict Management
No matter what your field of work may be, there is simply no escape from dealing with workplace conflict. The reason for this is simply because opposing ambitions and differing interests are aplenty no matter where you go. If you are part of management, therein lies a point where you cannot simply abdicate your responsibilities and let disputes in the workplace slide.
A manager holds the key source of power to eradicate any sort of negative connotations that exist in the work environment that might hamper productivity and even elevate the rate of employee turnover. While an entirely dispute-free workplace seems few and far between, there are progressive strategies that can be put in place at workplace to help employees interact in a more positive and productive manner.
An ambitious woman at the top of the ladder, the client helmed the regional office of an international chain of hotels & resorts, as well as an award-winning spa brand that operates across Asia Pacific and Australia. She managed approximately 200 employees day-to-day, from long-serving employees to the younger, less experienced staff. With her extensive experience in the last three decades, it came as no surprise that she was well respected by both her peers and practitioners in the industry. It was, in fact, even more alarming to hear that she faced difficulties resolving issues within her own team.
For many years, various conflicts arose in the client’s workplace as a result of poor communication, the friction between the older and younger staff and their refusal to embrace change. What’s worse was that she chose to “take the high road” and intentionally dodged these underlying issues altogether for fear of losing her staff members. This was indeed a detrimental mistake on her part, since her inability to exercise her influence led to a steady escalation of toxic behavior that included bullying and even incidences of verbal abuse. Things took a turn when a disgruntled employee in her team decided to blow the whistle and divert the matter towards the Regional President. Consequently, the client assured her boss that she would resolve the matter immediately and amicably. However, she was at complete loss as to what needed to be done and decided to seek professional help from a HR Advisor.
Every manager should be trained to identify and mitigate all kinds of conflicting situation at the workplace. In order to rectify the predicament at hand, the client was coached and mentored over a few months during which several focus group discussions were held with her team members on top of an intensive Workplace Conflict Management training. Through the group discussions, it become clear that the root of the workplace disputes was stemming from the vague set of ‘unwritten rules’ within the team, resulting in a range of harmful behaviors such as bullying, negativity, belittling, harassment and verbal abuses. Additionally, a customized Organizational Compliance and Conflict Management Resolution Framework was specifically put into place to help establish a foundation of communication and respect within the workplace.
Going forward, the client noted that the focused group discussions and Workplace Conflict Management training that members of the staff sat through were being applied effectively. Her team members, who in the past would not even look at each other, are applying the conflict resolution framework effectively to work out their differences in a professional manner. She began to acknowledge that a healthy work environment is all about balancing the interests of the individual with those of the entire team to ensure that the environment remains productive and respectful for all.
Managing workplace conflict can be a complex process that requires the mediator to stay neutral and it usually begins with the willingness to intervene. By subsequently taking the right approach, managers and supervisors can hopefully prevent the occurrence of future disputes and use it as a business advantage to dismiss performance barriers and fulfill the company’s corporate objectives.
Tags: HR solutions, HR Advisory, Boss At His Best, Case Studies, Workplace Conflict Management, HR Advisor
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