Using Workplace Conflict to your Advantage
February 20, 2023

Relationships in the workplace affect the culture as well as the overall quality of work. Conflict in the workplace, and between colleagues, can be inevitable – workplace conflict can transpire across a vast range of behaviour: harassment, bullying, a difference in opinion, and dissatisfaction.   

To a certain extent, conflict is useful as it highlights underlying issues – conflict allows a path for constructive and innovative methods to develop an organisation. However, if a conflict is not addressed at the earliest opportunity, then it can become a serious issue. CIPD published a report, in 2020, called ‘Managing Conflict in the Modern Workplace.’ (CIPD, 2020) The report highlights the destructiveness of unresolved conflict on an individual’s mental health and on an organisation’s productivity. The standard procedure of managing conflict, in the workplace, is mostly textbook – there is a formal procedure which includes paperwork. The process can feel technical, interrogative, and intimidating.  

Organisations typically have a Peoples Manager or an HR team to combat work conflict. However, there needs to be a focus on creating a work culture where conflict is resolved promptly – there must be an appreciation for the colleagues who are courageous enough to speak out. Rather than having a focus on the procedure of conflict, there needs to be an emphasis on the resolution of conflict. To accomplish this, organisations should teach their colleagues how to raise complaints through discrete channels. Furthermore, management makes a significant difference to an organisation. If managers implement conflict training for their employees then the training will encourage openness to bringing problems to management. 

Therefore, organisations would benefit immensely if conflict training was encouraged. Training employees on how to raise conflict with positive intentions may ensure they are skilled to communicate for good outcomes and encourage a cooperative and open discussion in the workplace, which will contribute to a positive, productive workforce.  

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