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How can you reduce personality conflict in your organisation?
HR News |
Within a business, interpersonal conflict is inevitable. With so many personalities working together and bringing their own priorities and perspectives to the fore, there are bound to be disagreements.
However, how do you know when it has become a serious problem? And what can you do about it?
When you have certain members of the team who just cannot get along, they can often end up causing issues across the company as a whole. When they begin to negatively impact other people’s work and productivity, addressing the issue becomes necessary.
Establish the root cause
Conflicts in the workplace can be the result of personal issues - whether one colleague simply dislikes the other - or work disputes. When it is the latter, there is more chance of the problem being resolved quickly. It is vital that you can work out a resolution to the problem as soon as possible in order to minimise any lack of focus and productivity.
When managers spend too much time dealing with workplace conflicts, the company’s strategic goals become a secondary concern, which negatively impacts the productivity of the business. Escalating the problem to HR can also result in too much of that department’s time being taken up, which is not a cost-effective business model.
Speaking to those involved allows you to work out what has happened and where to go from there. Once you know the reason for the conflict, you can work on a solution.
You may decide that training in interpersonal relationships and workplace communication is necessary. You could also decide that your company’s leadership team should embark on a training programme on how to resolve workplace conflict. Developing a skill set incorporating conflict resolution should be a priority for managers to ensure that they are reaching their strategic goals.
There are times when clashes between employees are the result of the environment they are working in. This is particularly true when there is a staffing shortage. This is also something that is straightforward to resolve.
By investing in hiring new people, this eliminates the problem of your existing staff members taking on too much work and struggling to get everything done, which can often result in frayed tempers and fights over who has to perform what tasks.
The right recruitment partner will enable your company to find people who fit its culture and therefore won’t cause any disruptions when they start work. This is done through careful screening during the application process.
When you have tried everything in your power to reduce workplace conflicts but employees are still fighting, it may be time for drastic measures. You may find that you have no choice but to replace a member of staff.
This is likely to be the case when your internal investigations have found that a specific person tends to have numerous disagreements with multiple people. There may be varying reasons for these conflicts, such as this person’s desire to make other people look bad in comparison.
Although there are industries where people like that might thrive, your company is perhaps not that place. When looking to hire a replacement, ensuring that a candidate’s personality type is compatible with your company culture is crucial.
Lessons for the future
After dealing with a serious workplace conflict situation, your business should learn its lesson. It should put in place guidelines for any future fights between employees.
There should be a defined set of processes to adhere to once a problem has been established. Your company should also define what acceptable behaviour by colleagues is and when someone steps outside from this framework, consequences should follow.
People should also understand completely what their roles are, which comes from the point of recruitment and is something an established and experienced agency can help with. Explicitly detailing a job brief eliminates any uncertainty around what an employee should be doing. This should result in everyone knowing what is expected of them, which should cause fewer feathers to be ruffled.
By Jon Aspinell
Ashdown HR Recruitment