Conflict in the workplace just seems to be a fact of life. There are situations where different people with different goals and needs have come into conflict. And if the conflicts are not resolved they can be intense personal animosity between individuals involved. There are bound to be differences, arguments and conflicts in the work place and conflict resolution is an essential skill that a person should have. This is a skill that is thought or acquired through experience and learning from others.
Over the years I have been involved in situations where there were arguments, differences in opinion which all usually resulted in a conflict of some sort. I think conflicts also have magnitudes and the scale of a conflict and how important the situation is to the job can also dictate how and when it is resolved. In this paper I will describe one of the situations where I was involved in a conflict, what transpired and how it was resolved. A couple years ago I found myself in a situation at work where I was not happy with one of my colleagues. I was about to go on a month log vacation and after a conversation with my manager he designated a colleague as my back up and suggested I updated them on things I was working on and what they needed to do to keep the work progressing while I was gone. Basically my job is to support airlines by responding to questions and issues that they have about the Airplanes that by company sells to them.
My conflicts are interrole conflicts. Work, school and home are all important to me. But the many roles that i have to take on can sometimes become over-whelming. These three areas of my life demand much of my attention for various reasons, so they each keep me accounted for a significant amount of obligation. Family, work and school tie into my life because one affects the other. I work to ...
This was a very critical part of what the company did and was part of supporting customers to keep them happy and potentially buy from us again in the future. So I scheduled a meeting with my colleague and we talked about all the projects I was working on, the status of the projects, what needed to be done to complete the project and how to support the new incoming projects. I told him about the issues I was having with some airlines, the point of contacts and how to best reach them to resolve the issues. There was a specific client that had a very urgent issue that needed to be resolved and I relayed to my colleague the status and told my colleague the deadline for the inquiry was near and he needed to close out the case before moving on to anything else. When I got back from vacation about a month later, I realized that a lot of the cases I was working on were still open and even worse the deadlines had passed and the customers had not gotten the responses they needed to keep operating the planes.
When I asked my colleague about the situation he explained to me that he was very busy and was not able to spend a lot of time working on the issues that I had left him to take care of in my absence. My initial perception was that my colleague was irresponsible and unreliable. I was very frustrated and angry because a lot of customers were disappointed and unhappy because of the lack of response from my company. This burden fell on me because everyone knew it was my responsibility to respond to the customers and I was blamed for the dissatisfaction on the part of the customers. From my colleagues’ point of view, the manager asked him to step in a back fill for me while I was out, he was told to still work on things that he needed to do and also back fill for me at the same time. The manager had told him that I was going on vacation and he would need him to keep any eye on the things I was working on but still make sure he worked on his projects.
My colleague decided to prioritize himself and chose to do most of his work rather than prioritize to see if any of my cases were urgent and respond in a timely manner. Ultimately his perception was that he just had to do a little bit to get my work moving along but was not responsible for making sure that all my work was completed in time. I asked my coworker why he had not helped the customers and he explained to me that he was overworked and did not have enough time to get the job done. I decided to confront my coworker because it bothered me and I thought it was better to air the grievances in the open than to let them fester. I was very upset and told him I thought he could have done a better job and I felt his job ethic was pretty bad because this was work he was supposed to have done. There was a bit of an argument and some harsh words were exchanged. The argument centered around me thinking he should have done more to make sure my work load was progressing while I was gone, and his main response that he could not manage my work load and his at the same time and be as productive as I expected him to have been. We were able to resolve the conflict before it escalated without, having any long term grudges against each other.
Approaches at work The conflict management approaches at work vary from supervisor to supervisor as we each have our own experience and background on how to deal with conflict. Most people regard conflict as detrimental to any workplace and immediately want to squash all mention of the word at any cost. The real answer is that conflict can be good and will spur others to think of different points ...
Some of the reasons the conflict was resolved was because we spoke calmly to one another and tried not to be aggressive. I have learnt that listening to the other person’s point of view helps to understand their position and see things the way they had understood it. The main reason for the conflict was miscommunication on the managers part. The manager told my coworker to do what he could to help out when he could when I was gone, by what I thought my manager told me was that my coworker would be taking over for me while I was gone. So I had different expectations for what I thought my coworker was going to help me with. We both spoke to our manager about what had transpired and how the miscommunication had affected the current workload, he understood our individual points, apologized to both of us and neither of us was blamed or held responsible for the late responses to the customers.
The main reason why we were able to resolve the conflict and have the desirable outcome, is the reality is that it can take time to reach a win-win solution, and we did not want to spend hours trying to decide who was wrong or right. There was increased understanding, increased cohesion and improved self knowledge between us which made resolving the conflict much easier than if we had not agreed resolving the conflict without placing blame was our priority. Communication and the willingness to listen is very important in resolving a conflict, however, if the conflict was not handled effectively, the result could have been damaging to the cohesion of the team and perception that we had of each other. Talent is wasted as people disengage or are dissatisfied with situations in the work place and it’s easy to end up in a vicious downward spiral of negativity and recrimination. There was no better solution to how this conflict was resolved, but one thing that could have been done differently was to increase communication with the manager and involved the manager when my coworker and I had the meeting.
List of Figures and Tables Page Study population – Table 3.1 8 Response rate -Table 4.1 9 Causes of Conflict – Table 4.2 9 Causes of Conflict – Pie Chart 4.1 10 Effects of Conflict – Table 4.3 10 Effects of Conflict – Pie Chart – 4.2 11 (vi) Chapter One INTRODUCTION 1.1 Introduction Lucgeor Enterprises was registered in 1998 as a general merchant business but ...
This way the manager would have been able to set expectation for each of us and cleared up any competition. But because we both received instructions separately we both interpreted differently and that cause confusion. The trust level between my coworker and I actually increased after this incedent, because after communicating with him more I got to know him on a more personal level and understood that he had a very good work ethic and was only doing what he was instructed to do.
What could have helped come to a better outcome is sending emails to the customers letting them know I was out of town and that even though somebody was standing in for me while I was gone I would do my best to follow up with anyone who had not received help by the time I got back from vacation. I would also have sent an email to the manager detailing my interpretation of his instructions and reiterating his expectations from my point of view. Last thing I could have done different is to document the transition plan of things that my coworker needed to do and sent it to my coworker and manager to make sure that everyone was on the same page.
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