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Conflict at Work

Conflict at work has many causes and can take many forms. It may be two workers who simply don’t get on or a grievance by an individual against their manager. It can also be rivalry between two teams, or a general lack of co-operation and trust between employees and management.

Some signs of conflict may be visible, such as a heated exchange between colleagues, or a meeting between management and employee representatives that turns into a "stand-off".

However, not all conflict is obvious and some people may hide their feelings as a way of coping with a problem. 

Causes of conflict

  • Poor management
  • Inadequate training
  • Unclear job roles
  • Poor work environment
  • Unfair or inconsistent treatment
  • Lack of equal opportunities
  • Poor communications
  • Bullying and harassment

Symptoms of conflict

  • De-motivated staff
  • Employees making derogatory comments about each other
  • A fall in productivity
  • An increase in customer complaints because people aren’t co-operating
  • Increased sickness absence

How to managing conflict

  1. Have a quiet word
  2. Investigate the problem informally
  3. Use internal procedures - for example, deal with grievances promptly and fully
  4. Train managers and supervisors
  5. Use a skilled mediator
  6. Improve the way you communicate and consult with employees
  7. Form working groups or staff councils
  8. Get outside help

Contact us if you have any questions or would like further information.

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