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Stage One: Conflict under the Carpet

You’ll never guess what happened to me at work today…?’ (Employee in conflict)

When we have a disagreement with someone at work it is all too common for us to just sweep it under the carpet and hope that it will go away.

Typical Corporate Conflicts:

- Lack of understanding of the pressures and expectations between management and employees due to poor communication leading to conflict.

- Two senior executives who simply can’t get on.

- Two administration teams forced to work together because of a recent merger between their companies.

- A manager who is unaware of how intimidating his management style can be.

- Constant interpersonal relationship difficulties within a single team.

Ironically, such conflicts often have their roots in a positive desire on both sides to find a solution to the problem. Conflict may be just an indication that people really care about what is going on, but their way of showing it is inappropriate to the situation.  If those involved understand this, it is a major first step towards eventual resolution.

I am not sure if Jack and Mike are getting on. (Manager)

Stage Two: Entrenchment

This is getting beyond a joke. I really hate going to work at the moment. (Employee in Conflict)

Having tried to sweep the issue under the carpet without success it is likely that it may become increasingly difficult to see a way out of the situation. You may not even be able to bring yourself to speak to the person.

The potential for negative impacts on the team as a whole, not just those in conflict, are now increasingly likely to be realised. These might include such things as low morale, poor attendance, loss of motivation and reduced profitability due to missed targets.

I hate these sorts of situations. Why can’t they just sort it out? (Manager)

Stage Three: Negative Solutions

I just don’t care anymore, either he goes or I go. (Employee in Conflict)

All too often participants pursuing employment tribunals or considering leaving a company due to conflict situations have ended up at this point from a relatively minor starting situation, such as an employee with a problem not taken seriously, a badly handled discipline interview or a misunderstanding between people.

I can’t believe it has come to this; I don’t want to lose either of them. If only I had known what to do. (Manager)

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