Managing Conflict

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ILM Level 3 Award in Effective Management

M3.14 Managing Conflict in the Workplace
Cause and effects of conflict
There are many causes of conflict in the work place, below are eight I have briefly described. 1. Conflicting Resources- We all need access to certain resources – whether these are office supplies, help from colleagues, or even a meeting room – to do our jobs well. When more than one person or group needs access to a particular resource, conflict can occur. 2. Conflicting Style- Everyone works differently, according to his or her individual needs and personality. For instance, some people love the thrill of getting things done at the last minute, while others need the structure of strict deadlines to perform. However, when working styles clash, conflict can often occur. 3. Conflicting Perceptions-All of us see the world through our own lens, and differences in perceptions of events can cause conflict, particularly where one person knows something that the other person doesn't know, but doesn't realize this. 4. Conflicting Goals-Sometimes we have conflicting goals in our work. For instance, one of our managers might tell us that speed is most important goal with customers. Another manager might say that in-depth, high-quality service is the top priority. It's sometimes quite difficult to reconcile the two! 5. Conflicting Pressures-Conflicting pressures are similar to conflicting goals; the only difference is that conflicting pressures usually involve urgent tasks, while conflicting goals typically involve projects with longer timelines. 6. Conflicting Roles- Sometimes we have to perform a task that's outside our normal role or responsibilities. If this causes us to step into someone else's "territory," then conflict and power struggles can occur. The same can happen in reverse - sometimes we may feel that a particular task should be completed by someone else. Conflicting roles are similar to conflicting perceptions. After all, one team member may view a task as his or her responsibility or territory. But when someone else comes in to take over that task, conflict occurs. 7. Different Personal Values- Your boss may ask you to perform a task that conflicts with your ethical standards. Do you do as your boss asks, or do you refuse? If you refuse, you may lose your boss's trust, or even your job? Your boss may also respect you for the fact you stood up and voiced your own believes. When our work conflicts with our personal values like this, conflict can quickly arise. 8. Unpredictable Policies- When rules and policies change at work and you don't communicate that change clearly to your team, confusion and conflict can occur. In addition, if you fail to apply workplace policies consistently with members of your team, the disparity in treatment can also become a source of dissension. During my time at Fylde Coast YMCA I was indirectly involved in a conflict between two supervisors which I think could have been a result of unpredictable policies Supervisor 1 had accused supervisor 2 of being a bully because a third party had overheard and misunderstood supervisor 1 having a conversation with a member of public about supervisor 2’s qualification being expired for the job she was undertaking. The third party overhead a conversation that should not of happen but also only heard half the story. This was then relayed back to supervisor 2. This caused and argument of ‘Chinese whisper between the third party and 2 supervisors escalating to the stage where supervisor 1 put a formal grievance in against Supervisor 2 for Bullying. This created a very tense environment to work in as other members of the team didn’t know what or who they could say to people in case it was taken the wrong way, or overheard by someone else and the same situation happened again. This situation was investigated by the manager and all members of staff involved were interviewed. This took time and the atmosphere...
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