Teamwork is one of those buzzwords that fly about whenever you hear anything about organizational processes. In fact, you would be hard pushed to find a resume that doesn’t include the fact that the applicant is “an excellent team player” somewhere in there. Similarly, any time there is a vacancy, the requirement for team work will be firmly noted on there as well. Unfortunately, it has become so much of a buzzword that people have stopped thinking about what it actually means. Sure, it is about working together, but what does that entail exactly? And why is it so important within an organization to have teamwork? Isn’t it a case that everybody has their own job?
For a long time, businesses operated on a process of “individual control.” This means that one person covered the reception desk, one person did the photocopying, one person did the finances and so on. This works to a degree, particularly in a very small organization, because it makes it clear who does what. However, it stops individual employees from feeling like they are part of the whole. Besides this, if anybody is ever off sick or takes a vacation, all of the operations stop. Transitioning into an environment of team work can be a difficult process, but it is one that must be achieved.
When you work together in an organization, there is always going to be conflict. There are conflicts of personality, conflicts of ideas, conflicts of values, or perhaps someone just has a bad day and feels the need to take it out on someone else. Regardless of what the reason for conflict is, it is essential that it is resolved before something gets out of hand. This requires quite specific skills, and here are some great tips to make sure you can deal with any sort of conflict that may arise in your workplace.
Do Not Solve The Problem
This seems like strange advice. After all, isn’t the only way to resolve conflict to find a solution? The issue is, however, that immediately jumping to a solution may seem like you are being dismissive of the conflict in the first place.
“It’s easy to want to take sides to move a decision along. Take the time to listen to the complaints. I tell my folks not to bring me an issue with another employee until they tell me they have already talked to that person and tried to work it out independently.” The Culture Gap by Paul Spiegelman
You must remember that your role is to resolve the conflict, not solve a problem. That is something the parties involved in the conflict must come to by way of discussion and agreement. They need to learn to communicate in such a way that they can understand each other’s points of views and come to a decision that is mutually acceptable. Your role is to facilitate that.
A good organization understands the vital importance of leadership and management, and leaders and managers understand the vital importance of those they supervise and mentor. It has to be a top down-bottom up approach, where everyone has an equal say, but leaders and managers are there to make sense out of all the information they receive, as well as to guide and steer others within the company.
Good managers are mindful of the simple fact that they are in relationships with their employees. And those relationships require tending. They must demonstrate excellent people skills and interpersonal interactions. Managers who fulfill their relationship responsibilities will have more informed, and more productive, employees.
How Does Workplace Conflict Occur?
Any workplace will know its fair share of conflicts.
Conflicts can happen due to a variety of reasons:
- opposing personality traits
- poor communication skills
- opposing values
- poor interpersonal skills
- and many other reasons
What matters, particularly within management, is that there is someone available who can deal with conflict resolution.