We spend a large part of our life “at work” and there are certain beliefs we have about how we are supposed to act, what is acceptable to talk about and sometimes there is a belief that work values or ethics are different at work than in the rest of our lives. Our work life is part of our life, and each of us deserves to enjoy these hours also.
Usually there are power differentials between co-workers. This can be difficult whether you are in a management role or in a subordinate role. No one enjoys power over, at least in the long run because there is a heavy cost.
In a management role you may have a sense that you are between the “rock and the hard place.” Your boss may be expecting a certain performance from those you are managing and you might be concerned with how what you are asking is affecting those that you are managing. The employees you are managing may be afraid to talk openly with you because their need for sustainability and survival could be strongly tied to their job and paycheck.
Before an issue even arises, there is already fertile ground for conflict just by these dynamics. When some employees finally do talk, they might explode. Other times what happens is, what hasn’t effectively been communicated oozes out as a constant stream of negativity that might be shared with others and decrease morale. Other times, employees polarize with viewpoints or in departments.
However, the environment can improve and change. Employees can be empowered to offer their ideas and concerns in a way that benefits them and the company. Management can help employees that are polarized to not only effectively communicate, but to hear each other and management. Once this happens, once individuals understand what is important to them and each other, situations can resolve quickly, and solutions emerge. Employees who were not speaking to each other, begin helping each other and finding solutions together. It is worth the time because in the long run it saves time and money.
We can support you in navigating your situation and provide ongoing support and we can also provide training so you can more effectively prevent conflict and navigate your own conflict resolutions.