Problem: Conflict Resolution
In a perfect world everyone would get along just fine at the office. However, every business will have employees who don’t get along from time to time.
Whether it’s because of differences in their personalities, lifestyles, opinions or some other factor, sometimes employees just don’t mesh. And that can be ok…or it can be a significant problem. And when there’s discord in the workplace, it affects everybody.
The resulting tension not only makes the office environment uncomfortable – but it can also negatively impact your business’s productivity and bottom line.
Handled constructively, employee conflict can lead to healthy competition, process improvements, innovation and enhanced creativity.
It can be a disaster with lasting effects if it isn’t addressed or handled.
Conflict resolution is a daily occurrence at work that can either propel or disrupt the momentum for a leader, a team or the entire organization.
The workplace can become a toxic environment when leaders allow conflict to fester rather than confront it head-on. Managing conflict can be a tricky thing – especially when you are not familiar with the larger ecosystem in which the particular individual or department creating the conflict operates, and how efforts to resolve conflict will reverberate
throughout that ecosystem.
The workplace is fueled with so many concurrent agendas that you never know which ones may be affected when you resolve conflict solely to benefit and advance your own.
National Data: So how much does employee conflict cost us every year? $359 billion in paid hours.
That’s the total price of the 2.8 hours per week U.S. employees spend dealing with workplace conflict.
Why is it happening? There are a multitude of factors that contribute to conflict in the workplace:
- poor management
- Lack of mindfulness, emotional intelligence training
- unfair treatment
- unclear job roles
- inadequate training
- poor communication
- poor work environment
- lack of equal opportunities
- bullying and harassment
- significant changes to products, organizational charts, appraisals or pay systems
Major causes of workplace conflict
Other major causes of conflict in the workplace include:
Personality clashes – the ‘personality mix’ within a team can be upset when a new member of staff joins or if two colleagues suddenly fall out.
Individuals may also respond to difficult or challenging situations in an unhelpful or unproductive way.
Unrealistic needs and expectations – conflict at work can often be caused when employers ignore the needs of employees or set unrealistic expectations.
For example, arranging hours that make it difficult for employees to carry out childcare responsibilities.
Business values – most people have very clear ideas about what they think is fair, and your organization’s procedures and policies must reflect this.
For example, giving someone a fair hearing or explaining the reasoning behind a decision.
Unresolved workplace issues – for example, an employee might ask to be moved to another team because of their manager’s ‘aggressive’ leadership style.
However, the employee may have other reasons – for example, they may blame their manager for a lack of training or career progression.
Increase in workload – sometimes workplace conflict is caused because people feel they are being pushed too hard and resentment sets in if they feel their workload is unmanageable.
How Boost Helps
In order for employees to manage conflict with others they must first understand how to deal with conflict within themselves.
This is where emotional intelligence and mindfulness training comes into play.
Employees must first understand that they only “thing” they can control is themselves. And this takes training.
The Art and Skill of Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the degree of mastery over one’s emotional world; an adept relationship between feeling, thinking, and acting; the skill to manage,
control and shape his or her emotional states so they become reliable assets; the ability to consciously manifest feelings in order to help achieve desired successes and goals;
the intuitiveness to engage various levels of empathy and sympathy in order to enter, influence, maintain, grow, and enrich both professional and personal relationships.
The four major skills that make up emotional intelligence are:
Self- Awareness The ability to read one’s emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions. This is the gold standard of emotional intelligence, the foundational element on which all other emotional competencies are built. According to research, people who lack self‐awareness are much more likely to derail in their careers.
This cluster includes an awareness of one’s inner emotional life, knowledge of one’s strengths and limitations, as well as self‐ confidence.
Self-Management – Involves controlling one’s emotions and impulses as well as adapting to changing circumstances. Awareness of your emotions is not enough.
Another key set of competencies revolves around the ability to take the next step: managing those emotions. In research that centered on business leaders who were pursuing promising careers and then “derailed,” the most significant factor leading to derailment was lack of impulse control.
In other words, whether or not they were aware of their emotions, they allowed them to erupt in ways that caused trouble.
Mindful of Others The ability to sense, understand, and react to others’ emotions while comprehending social networks.
Emotional intelligence competencies include not only dealing effectively with oneself, but also dealing effectively with others.
This cluster of competencies includes the ability to be empathetic, to understand organizational politics, and to be service‐minded.
Relationship Management – The ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict. This includes being able to have a palpable influence on friends and colleagues in order to advance the connection.
Another key attribute to this stage of EI is the skill to resolve conflicts without jeopardizing interpersonal connection(s).
Someone with EI skills also has the ability to rally people towards worthwhile causes and goals, author social connections and team building, and inspire leadership.
Additional benefits from optimizing emotional intelligence include:
- Mastering the “dance” between emotions, thoughts, and actions.
- Consistent understanding and control over one’s emotional states.
- Successful movement toward beneficial integration.
- Increased capacity to master conflict resolution through empathetic understanding.
- Skillful development and maintenance of desired interpersonal relationships.
Through our innovative courses we have been able to reduce conflict by helping employees improve in the following areas programming has improved 25% improvement in anxiety/self-control Boost programming has shown to reduce burnout by 36% 36% improvement in managing emotions 40% increase in communication skills
National Data & Sources
- 50% of time wasted in business is due to lack of trust. John O. Whitney, Director, Deming Center for Quality Management
- In one year, the US Air Force invested less than $10,000 for emotional competence testing and saved $2,760,000 in recruitment costs. Fastcompany “How Do You Feel,” June 2000
- In a multinational consulting firm, partners who showed high emotional intelligence earned 139% more their partners with lower emotional intelligence. Boyatzis, 1999
- American Express tested emotional competence training on financial advisors. Trained advisors increased business 18.1% compared to 16.2%, and nearly 90% of those who took the training reported significant improvements in their sales performance. Now all incoming advisors receive four days of emotional competence training. Fastcompany “How Do You Feel,” June 2000
- After supervisors in a manufacturing plant received emotional competency training, lost‐time accidents were reduced by 50%. Formal grievances were reduced from an average of 15 per year to three per year, and the plant exceeded productivity goals by $250,000. Pesuric & Byham, 1996
- Top performing sales clerks are 12 times more productive than those at the bottom and 85% more productive than an average performer.
- Technical skill and cognitive ability only accounts for one‐third of this difference. Emotional competence accounts for the remaining two‐thirds. Goleman, 1998
- UCLA research indicates that only 7% of leadership success is attributable to intellect, while 93% of success comes from trust, integrity, authenticity, honesty, creativity, presence, and resilience. Cited in Cooper and Sawaf, 1996
- The most effective leaders in the US Navy were warmer, more outgoing, emotionally expressive, dramatic, and sociable. Bachman, 1988, cited in Cherniss, 2000
- Workers with high work pressures and poor time management skills are twice as likely to miss work. Employees who have strong self‐management skills cope better with work pressures. Essi Systems, 1997