Where is the Conflict in Your Team?

It’s an interesting observation – “10% of conflicts are due to the difference in opinion and 90% are due to the wrong tone of voice.”

In today’s organizations with employees from multi-cultural backgrounds, there are bound to be misunderstandings and inevitably conflicts will raise their ugly head now and then.

As a manager, you will often find yourself in conflict with others or will be called to mediate for others in conflict.

Most of the conflicts in the workplace occur for the following reasons:

  1. Scarce resources.
  2. Difference in opinion or beliefs.
  3. Competition or rivalry between individuals or groups.
  4. Lines of authority are not clearly delineated.

Experts have been quoted on conflicts saying “it’s not the least about human beings but a lot about assumptions and ambiguity.”

As a manager, it would serve you well if you improved your own self and understood the dynamics of conflict so that you and your team can function smoothly.

Experts recommend the following steps and I personally have used them, hence I can say if you follow them, you will see a big reduction in conflicts.

  1. As soon as a meeting is over, summarize everything as agreed and send it to all participants. Also copy everyone not present at the meeting who might be affected. Ask everybody to “Sign Off” or get back to you so that no one assumes anything.
  1. Have clear written communications, policies and procedures and SOP’s in the place, this will prevent a lot of conflicts starting in the first place.
  2. Train your team to document and maintain records meticulously. It takes a lot of discipline to stay on top but pays off in the long run.

A lot of conflicts will vanish in thin air once your people discover that without proper documentation, their pleas for “justice” fall on deaf ears. They generally adapt quickly and disputes melt away.

Much of our human interactions consciously or unconsciously are an attempt to hold others accountable while voiding accountability to ourselves.

A good manager who wants to be a great leader knows, if you want accountability from others, you must first offer it yourself.

Remember, conflicts are inevitable but combat is optional.


Uday Nayak is a Training Manager for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. He is currently responsible for training and development at Sheraton in Dubai Mall of Emirates.

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