Life at work isn’t always a breeze.
At some point in your career, there will be be some kind of team conflict. It’s inevitable! It might be about completing tasks, the quality of work or external issues that might have creeped into the workplace – it doesn’t really matter. What matters is how you deal with the conflict.
Don’t dance around the issue.
The longer you leave the conflict, the more damaging it can be to morale and the work environment in general. Conflict can make people dread coming to work, or worse, force people into taking time off. If there is an issue, deal with it. Deal with it directly, or take it to a superior that will deal with it. The longer a problem is left, the more it will grow.
Team meetings can be a great way to deal with or prevent conflicts in the workplace. They provide a level playing field, a blank canvas, allowing workers to share their insights, ideas and opinions. At team meetings, allow everyone the chance to speak. Try to keep everything as controlled as possible.In the heat of the moment, people might become frustrated and raise their voice. Try to control the situation listen to what people are saying. It can often help to have a member of staff recording minutes of the meeting to, to note what was discussed and what will be done to make changes. Once you have implemented the changes, it is a good idea to follow up on these to make sure that the conflict has subsided.
What happens when team conflicts are caused by someone higher up in the organisation?
This can be a tricky one. People often feel awkward confronting a superior. However, if there is a real conflict, it should be dealt with. Try to speak to them. Alone, or collectively with other staff members, approach the member of staff that is causing the problem but don’t go in all guns blazing, defensive before you’ve even started to chat!
If you feel uncomfortable doing this, or have done this and nothing has changed, it might be an idea to get a trade union involved.
A trade union is an organisation with members who are usually workers or employees. It looks after their interests at work by doing things like:
- negotiating agreements with employers on pay and conditions
- discussing big changes like large scale redundancy
- discussing members’ concerns with employers
- going with members to disciplinary and grievance meetings
Often, a trade union rep can act as a mediator between the employees and the employer when trying to settle any issues in the workplace. If you want more information about Trade Unions, and how to join one, check out the UNISON website.