In any business, conflicts are inevitable. Disagreements between coworkers, or even managers and employees, may occur over projects, performance reviews, team dynamics, or company policies. You can’t avoid conflict in the workplace — but you can manage it effectively. A healthy work environment is one in which employees feel they can express themselves without fear of reprisal. In such an environment, conflicts don’t escalate but are resolved quickly and fairly. There are many kinds of conflicts in any organization — personal, logical, moral, and political among them — that require different strategies for resolution. Peaceful collaboration is an ideal state for everyone involved at work; however, it won’t happen automatically.
Identify and understand the type of conflictConflicts within the workplace can be categorized according to the relationships involved and the potential for damage. By identifying the type of conflict, you can tailor your mediation strategy appropriately. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
- Personal conflict – A coworker feels that another colleague is unprofessional or treats her unfairly. The root cause could be anything from an interpersonal dispute to a personality clash.
- Moral conflict – One employee has strong religious beliefs that clash with another employee’s views. A political or ideological dispute might arise, too.
- Logical conflict – This is the most common workplace conflict. Logical conflicts are caused by differing points of view, differing goals, or different priorities.
- Political conflict – Politics in the workplace can destroy morale, productivity, and efficiency. Political conflicts arise when two or more employees vie for power or influence. They may engage in backstabbing or “friendly fire” behind closed doors.