5 STEPS TO DEALING WITH WORKPLACE CONFLICT
Almost all of us have had a bad run-in with our bosses at one time or the other during our working lives. This leads to a lot of stress and pent-up animosity. In this article, we give you some tips to deal with all the bad feeling, and how we could potentially resolve conflicts.
Thousands of people dread going into work every day because they don’t like their boss, or they think their bosses don’t like them. While we often think that a ‘lack of passion’ is one of the main reasons for workplace indifference, studies have shown that the number one reason for people hating their jobs is that they have an uncomfortable working relationship with their boss.
It is natural to feel pinned down and helpless when caught in a conflict with your boss, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. Here is a five-step solution should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
1. Raise your concern directly with your manager
This is one thing that we do not do. We complain about the manager to our family, our close friends, and to even our colleagues, but we don’t gather enough courage to talk to our manager about it. This is because most of us carry an inferiority complex when it comes to our bosses; we feel that they’re ‘more powerful’ than we are. That is often not true. Employees are as important to an organization as managers. The key is to avoid confrontational language and approach the subject as a team. Instead of saying, ‘I don’t like these things about you,’ you could perhaps begin with: ‘I think we will be better off putting expectations of both parties on the table and discuss them thoroughly.’
2. Anticipate the manager’s point of view and be prepared for it
Write down your concerns on a piece of paper so that you don’t forget them. Prepare for this meeting well by enacting it beforehand, anticipating all the manager’s possible responses, and thinking of you would react to them as well. The more you prepare for discussions such as this, the easier conflict management will become for you.
3. Approach Human Resources
If talking to your manager does not work, then approaching human resources is a viable option. We often think that HR leans towards managers against employees, but that’s not true in practice. HR teams are trained and paid to resolve conflicts in the workplace, and in many ways, your rights are as important to them as your manager’s. So do not hesitate to contact the HR team with your concerns.
4. Take legal action
There are strict laws that protect your rights as an employee against things such as harassment and discrimination. If your concern cannot be resolved within the organisation, you can and should consider getting external legal help. But proceed with caution, because often your manager also has the same rights that you have, so it could become an ugly scenario if evidence is sketchy.
This is often the first thing that people think of, but should actually be the last resort, provided none of the above four have worked. If they haven’t, though, do not think too much of resigning. After all, you have a talent to give the organisation, and they should respect it. If resigning will give you the happiness and peace you need, by all means do so.