Conflict is an inevitable part of business life and not all conflict is negative. Most people would agree that where there are people there is conflict.
Some workplace conflict is healthy and if viewed positively can be an opportunity and catharsis for you and your business to effect positive change! It’s all how you think about it.
However where unhealthy conflict raises its head repeatedly this has potential risk to cause your business negative consequences. These negative consequences can have far reaching effects and added costs to your bottom line if not nipped in the bud quickly.
Common causes of workplace conflict may include
o Poor communications
o Mushroom effect – no one knows what’s happening around here
o Unrealistic work expectations
o Personality clashes (a lack of ability to get on or want to get one with people different from you)
o Poor leadership
Communication is the glue that holds relationships together in your business. Your employees want to feel valued and know that you are interested in them. Poor communication is the number one topic raised by employees in questionnaires conducted in the workplace.
Negative stress has the power to cripple your business! Sometimes as a business owner you may allow referred stress (our personal stress) to be transferred unwittingly on your employees. This is likely to lead to your business experiencing the negative consequences of friction, decreased morale and potentially employees may undermine your business.
Personality clashes are often where one person at the workplace has an inability to get along another colleague or simply doesn’t want to! There are many reasons for this however it is imperative that you hire the person who has the right cultural fit for your business.
In Australia as is common in many countries where their is Occupational Health and Safety legislation, the law places a legal obligation (something you must do) on employers to provide a healthy and safe workplace.
You can be found vicariously liable for the actions of your employees if you have been found not to have complied with your obligations.
What can your business do?
You can be proactive and manage workplace conflict by
o Inducting Employees into the workplace
o Implement a Grievance Policy and Procedure
o Regular employee communications
o If you sniff trouble act!
o Take advice
o Consider mediation
o Do not procrastinate
Your business may be experiencing workplace conflict but there are practical and positive solutions available to your business. You are not alone! By way of example Biz Momentum (www.biz-momentum.com)have assisted a number of businesses who faced potential ruin because of employee conflict and today those same businesses are thriving.
Your business can move through difficult phases and thrive – its all how you see conflct and how soon you take action.