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conflict at work

Conflict At Work and Key Considerations Prior to Acting

In simplest terms, a conflict at work is a clash between motivations, needs, processes, and/or goals.


You should not seek conflict or avoid it if you aspire to be a leader. And if done right, resolving a conflict at work can bring clarity and positive change.


However, it doesn't come naturally to most. Do you feel me on this one? Well, the good news is that you can work on dealing with conflict at work.


But first a few words on why it is important to you to deal with conflict at work swiftly and efficiently.


Conflict at work often comes from unclarity on roles and responsibilities. Either someone declines to perform their role's responsibilities, or someone tries to claim your role's responsibilities. Neither is acceptable and creates grey zones and blurred lines between groups. If you don't have the uncomfortable discussion right there and then, you signal that this is "okay", and the conflict potential will grow.

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Important Aspects of Conflict At Work You Need to Know

conflict at workplace


1. Understand the Motivation Behind the Other Sides Point of View

Have you heard of "What is in it for me"? It is the most critical thing to understand the other person's motivation behind their actions.


If the conflict comes out of a misunderstanding, look for a clarifying discussion and define next steps with the other party. If the other side is missing support from you to reach their objectives, help them achieve their goals and remove obstacles. If the other party's motivation is to change the scope of your role, mark your territory clearly and seek support from influential sources.


2. Pick Your Battles Carefully

Think carefully about what is at stake and what could be the repercussions of you acting and not acting. If the issue is minor, move on and save your energy for the important stuff.


If the conflict is to influence your realm of work significantly, you need to take action and only stop once the conflict is fully resolved.


3. Define Acceptable Behavior

If you get mistreated and don't take action to set the record straight, you are indirectly signaling that this behavior is "okay." This will open the door to further mistreatment.


You can avoid this through radical transparency and consistency. Be clear on (1) how you make decisions, (2) your job description, including roles and responsibilities, and (3) remove the grey areas.


Make it clear to everyone what you will tolerate and what not, and then act consistently when non-acceptable behavior arises.

International Association of Women membership
Free work interview preparation for first time manager questions
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