By experience, I’ve learned that #1 not everyone is your friend at work, and #2 work is work (not necessarily a place to have fun unless your job description prompts you to do so).
Learning how to deal with conflict is imperative. A conflict management plan is extremely necessary when dealing with diverse people with interpersonal & generational differences.
In a customer service work setting, for example, conflict can occur between management, employees, or between customers. Conflict may arise between management if the leadership team is not striving toward the same goal this can be reflected and create other issues when working with other staff. Conflict occurs among workers for various reasons. A person transitioning into a leadership position, who’s role is not defined, or there is mistrust, causes conflict between management, staff, employees.
In professional life, most conflicts are due to communication and listening barriers. Most workplaces involve diverse groups of people, and there is an overall lack of communication. Some common characteristics of workplace conflict include miscommunication, personality differences, generational differences, and ignorance.
The Avoiding style of managing conflict is when someone completely disassociates (separates) themselves from conflict. Accommodating is used when one side of the conflict is willing to give up something to satisfy the other or come to an agreement. Competition is a quick decision style of managing. When there isn’t a lot of time to waste. Collaborating is very common in the workplace, especially dealing with problem-solving and other complex related issues. Compromising involves both sides giving up something to come to a resolution as neither is more influential or has more power over the other.
Avoiding is a management style that would be beneficial in a work environment where emotions are running high. For example, employees may respond to a conflict in violence. If the staff exhibit physical violence, some individual may avoid the situation entirely. Accommodating has commonly displayed in customer service related fields. In retail, there is a saying “the customer is always right” meaning the customer’s interest take priority over the server’s interests. Competition can be used in situations of urgency. For example, there may be a physical altercation between employees and the manager may have to send the employees home or terminate the employees.
Managers too involved can be detrimental to a work environment and vice versa. As I gain experience in my position and strengthen listening and communication skills. Learn patience, remain other-oriented, and continue to accept criticism without defense. Collaboration management focuses on the big picture goals of the company versus the interest of either side; both sides work together for a resolution. Veterinarians and Vet Techs commonly practice this style as the overall importance (lives of animals) is bigger than their interest. Compromising occurs among employees with mutual power. Each side will both gain something and take a loss while finding a resolution.
Developing effective conflict management skills will take education and experience. Implementing the learned skills will gain experience over time. Conflict is an experience in itself that has the potential of strengthening working relationships as it occurs among diverse groups of people. Developing an effective management plan creates the opportunity for effective collaboration, clarity and creates learning experiences.
My plan for conflict resolution requires effective communication through mediation; as I have concluded communication determines effective working relationships. Dealing with conflict among co-workers will become easier with collaboration. A win/win style of managing will help to mediate a conflict between staff, and they will be able to express themselves to come mutually to an agreement.
Implementing a managing plan to identify, process, and understand conflict is the goal to prevent the same occurrence. Conflict triggers are what can be perceived as the initial cause of a conflict. Getting to know the staff and these triggers will help to handle and hopefully, prevent conflict. Allowing employees to be independent to handle conflict initially then becoming a mediator in a neutral role, then, collaborating to create a win/win strategy will be effective.
Being young and professional in the workplace is difficult for many reasons. There are resources, workshops, and mentoring available to prepare young people for the workforce, but nothing can prepare you for EVERY circumstance or situation that may occur.
We need to examine ourselves continuously, work and educate ourselves to become more diverse and open-minded. It is important for (us) young people to work on ourselves and work on our approach to interacting with different people (people other than ourselves) in order to live a fulfilling life.
Reference: Steven A. Beebe. (2013). Interpersonal Communication. Retrieved from Steven A. Beebe, Communication website.