Guide

Managing conflict

Spotting signs of conflict

Conflict can arise at work for a number of reasons. For instance, two employees may have a personality clash, an employee may have a grievance against their manager, or a manager feels an employee is underperforming. It could also happen when there is a rivalry between teams or a lack of trust between workers and management.

Sometimes the signs of the conflict can be visible - for example, in an argument between colleagues, a meeting that turns into a stand-off or when colleagues send angry emails to each other. Other conflicts can be harder to discover - for example, one team could withdraw from contact with the rest of the business, or there might be an increase in staff absence from work.

Signs of conflict

Conflict can have a negative impact on your employees and this may be demonstrated by:

  • a lack of motivation - fewer people volunteer to take on new tasks, and there is little employee input at team meetings or briefings
  • unpleasant behaviour - people start to make derogatory remarks towards each other and there are fewer social events organised
  • falling productivity - there are likely to be more queries and complaints if people are not cooperating with each other
  • increased sick leave and absence of staff - unhappiness may lead to depression or stress
  • increased level of grievances from staff in a particular area/section