Study Reveals – Conflict is the major factor to stress

Can we have a Conflict FREE Workplace?

“Conflict is inevitable;

but combat is optional”

Max Lucado

Published The Australian 10th June 2019


AccessEAP released data showing conflict between managers and their colleagues are the top 10 issues facing Australian workers.


RADSTAD chief executive says – The biggest cause of stress is expectations of working long hours followed by unclear role expectations, fear of redundancy and pressure from mangers

Describe Conflict - 4 Words or Less


Lets do an exercise first before you go through the blog information.  If you could describe conflict in less that 4 words what would you say?  Take a minute to write these down.


The Problem:


Our perceptions around conflict have been based on how we have handled conflict in the past; or how we have observed  others handling it.


It is like anything we do. If we are not informed on the best practices of achieving something, then we will have to learn by making mistakes and this can take a long time and leave us doubting ourselves.


Imagine jumping into a car and you have no knowledge of how to drive or even how the car works. You may find out after a while; however you may have some traumatic experiences along the way. 


If conflict is not handled effectively then you may start to experience some of the symptoms outlined in this blog.


Such as loss of high performing team members, loss of productivity, increased costs for recruiting and training and this all leads to having a toxic workplace that reduces morale and co-operation. 

The Solution:

Change your perspective around conflict and know that when handled probably it helps and drives your teams to come up with the following:


  • New Ideas and innovation
  • Encourages keeping open minds for new opportunities
  • Assists Solutions through problem solving
  •  Increases engagement
  • Removes Stagnation and complacency

This are just a few benefits. The secret is knowing how to manage conflict through respect and leadership.


Three Types of Conflict ........


Inner Conflict

Internal conflict is the experience of having opposing psychological beliefs, desires, impulses or feelings. In the field of psychology, internal conflict is often referred to as  cognitive dissonance“,  which is a term that refers to holding conflicting and inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.


This mental struggle can occur at any point in life over any topic such as relationships, work commitments, religious beliefs, moral standpoints, and social ideologies.


Have you heard of the story with the devil and angel, having competing perspectives? You know that internal dialogue that we have when we have two opposing values or ideas. Sometimes to stop the inner conflict we simply need to decide and take a stance? In  my opinion being indecisive will lead you to not doing anything. I would rather make a mistake and learn from the lessons, then feeling completely stuck and flying under the radar. Which would you prefer?

How to Handle Inner Conflict

  • Don’t push away annoying thoughts – the more you push them away the more intense they will become. Allow your subconscious mind to receive the messages. Instead of trying to get rid of the thoughts focus on explore the solutions or possibilities that will overcome the situation
  • Keep to you value system – Ensuring that you are not violating your values is also a key to overcome your conflict. If you are asked to do something that is against your core values; then have a conversation with the person and state your position in a way that demonstrates respect and understanding
  • Keep committed to your agreements – If you say you are going to do something; then follow through and be accountable and responsible.
  • Write your conflicts down – Keep a journal and record your conflicts. Get them out of your head. Journaling is and effective tool to simply gain more clarity
  • Mediation – Relax and allow yourself some quite time to process and think things through
  • When you make mistakes own up and do what is necessary to make the situation right.

“The Future is determined by the actions that we take to-day ”

Lee Stemm


Interpersonal Conflict

This is conflict that is observed by external behaviors with others. This is where we are trying to get our point of view across to others.


Or maybe trying to impose our beliefs and expectations onto others.  Maybe there is a difference in the process of achieving goals or feeling threatened of loss.


You know loss of control, status, independence, certainty, failure to name just a few.


 You may start to feel anger, frustration, overwhelm and stressed out with other co-workers.



How to Handle Interpersonal Conflict

  • If personal speak directly to the person who you are having conflict with
  • Ensure the timing is right and you are using the right environment that is private
  • Listen to their perspectives – Ask questions – Use Active Listening skills
  • Communicate your perspective whilst having empathy
  • Bring the conversation back to the big picture - Gaining agreements along the way
  • Identify the real source of the conflict
  • Come up with some solutions that both parties can agree upon
  • Complete an action plan and agreement forms to move forward
  • Monitor and evaluate the progress – Maintain a professional relationship
  • “Emotional Awareness is necessary so you can convey your thoughts and feeling properly  to others  ”

    Lee Stemm

    Group / Team Conflict

     

    This involves different groups or teams within the workplace. Some conflict issues occur due to different distribution of resources between teams or departments.


    For example:


    I remember a time when I was working as a Business Development Manager in the Sales Team within a company. We had a good operations team as well. Whilst it was important for the Sales team to interact with the operations team conflict did arise at times.

    As the sales team expanded from just me to a total of 4 Business Development Managers the resources of having separate rooms and workstations became an issue.


     I remember all of being set up in the same room – desk to desk. I found this extremely to difficult to concentrate and also to make calls as it was at times quite loud and hard to hear my clients on the phone.

    We were all struggling within the team and had several conversations with the directors about this situation. The directors did not take any action to come up with solutions to the problem, and just let it up to us to work it out.


    Now the Operations team being established longer all had separate offices.  They were not exposed to the same struggles that the sales team were experiencing with sharing space. During the conflict we started to resent the other team as there was understanding of our needs.


    Do you see the fact that one team had more resources then the other can cause conflict? This was not handled well and I left the company along with others at that time.


     Your high performers will  leave if the environment is not healthy. Imagine if all you had left within your teams were under performers.

    How to Handle Team / Group Conflict

     

  • The first place to start is to be trained in some basic conflict handling Skills – Send your team and leaders onto a conflict management course. It is more effective to be prepared as conflict cannot be avoided.
  • Be aware of the existing conflict issues of your team – Always pay attention to your team members and watch for the early signs of conflict
  • Set in place Team Alignment principles, ground rules, values, clarity of roles, expectations, goals, vision, purpose and know their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Understand the difference between destructive conflict and healthy conflict
  • Discuss all perspectives and remain neutral
  • Look for solutions and gain agreements of how to move forward
  • Don’t change the team members – this will only lead to resentment and the conflict is left unresolved.
  • On Demand Training - 6 Week Boot Camp Conflict Management Course

    This is a self paced online program with follow up Coaching sessions to support the implementation.


    To read course outlines and how it is delivered hit the READ MORE  Button below. 

    • June 15, 2019

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