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When There is Conflict in the Workplace

You see the people that you work with more than you probably do your own family, so it is not ideal when Conflict in the workplace arises. When there is a problem in the office, even if it is a small one, everyone seems to be affected.

ACAS has found that the main issues, which can cause conflict, are poor communication, inadequately trained management, bullying and harassment, unfair treatment, and a lack of equal opportunities.

Conflict in the office can cause motivation and productivity to drop, behavioural changes in staff and an increase in sickness days being taken.

Communication seems to be one of the most common reasons for conflict. Whether it is people receiving a lack of information, poor or undetailed information, they have been misinformed or that they have received no information at all! Of course, poor communication would result in conflict as it can be very difficult to continue on with your work if you have been told something wrong, or worse still, you haven’t been given any information at all. To prevent this from happening in the workplace, make sure that the information you give people is clear and concise, you give them the information in a timely manner (especially if it is information that they need), and make sure it is accurate

Another major issue when there is conflict in the workplace is emotions. It can be easy for people to let their emotions get the best of them, especially in a heated situation. You don’t want to let an area of conflict fester and develop into something worse, letting all of your emotions come out and blow up in front of your colleagues.

Ways in which you can prevent conflict arising in the office is to first of all, make sure that everyone knows what the acceptable behaviour is, and what is expected of them. This can be done by making sure everyone has clearly defined job roles and that there is a well-articulated chain of command in place.

Simple things, such as just taking the time to listen to what people have to say, and recognising the importance of other people’s feelings can make a big difference. This will also prevent a small conflict from getting any worse. Proactively intervening in areas of conflict will prevent it from arising and will also minimise the severity of the situation. Hearing other people’s reasons and motivations for conflict could help you understand their point of view and you could see a new side to the situation. If there was a reason to create conflict, there is definitely a reason to resolve it. Discussing and resolving an area of conflict will also allow the office to learn and develop from the situation, and it will stimulate ideas and new learning techniques that will prevent this sort of thing happening again.

Overall, you should remain as positive as you can in a situation of conflict, you should choose the right time and right place to talk about the issue, and definitely don’t gossip about any office conflict. This could make the whole thing worse and you could lose co-workers trust.


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