02 Nov Is this a Problem or a Conflict?
What Leaders Should Know about Conflict in the Workplace
As a leader, you will need to easily assess situations and respond to them appropriately. The cost of making the wrong assessment can be very costly.
Is it a problem?
Yes, it’s a problem when the printer breaks or the shipment gets delayed or the client paid the wrong bill. In these kinds of situations everyone is thinking solutions. How can we get the printer fixed fast? Are we happy with our current service arrangement? Can we ask them for an emergency expedited services? Are we getting what we paid for or should we upgrade our services? Can we do something else until the shipment arrives? Can we call the customer to get the correct bill paid?
Problems demand critical thinking that sometimes lead to creative results. We tend to focus on the solution and not get side tracked by feelings and emotions.
Is this a conflict?
A conflict contrasts when, for example, Jim is rude to Carol and refuses to acknowledge her at meetings or in the office. Actually, that’s harassment. These interpersonal issues are harder to assess and respond to appropriately. However, as a leader, you are legally responsible to stop harassment in your workplace. In a conflict, people tend to attack each other rather than come together for a solution. They divide and attempt to concur. This cause much stress and takes up necessary time and resources.
In a conflict, people’s feelings, there identity, self-worth and emotions come into play, making it more complicated to wade through. Though you may be tempted to say, “Let them work it out, they’re not kids.” You as a leader has a legal responsibility to ensure the workplace is not hostile for any of your employees. Thus, you need to do something about the situation once you become aware of it.
Let’s just say your employees can file a harassment complaint against you for maintaining a hostile working environment. So unfortunately, you have to do your due diligence.
Responding to conflicts well will ensure you and your employees suffer less stress and work.
To your wellness,
- Joyce Odidison is a Conflict Analyst, Speaker, Author, and the world’s leading expert on Interpersonal Wellness Competency Mindset teaching. Joyce is President & CEO of Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc. as well as founder and host of the Annual Global Workplace Wellness Summit. Joyce has authored five books and is also a Certified Coach Training Director and Founder of Coach Velocity School of Coaching. Joyce is a C-Suite level workplace wellness expert and trainer, working for over 24 years with governments, the private sector, non-profits, and post-secondary institutions struggling with difficult work relationships or stressful situations. She is host of the What’s Happening at Work podcast. Joyce can be reached at e-mail: www.joyceodidison.com or phone 1 877 999-9591 www.interpersonalwellness.com