It is common for employees to seek help from their manager if they are experiencing conflict or relationship challenges in the workplace. What are your options as a manager to respond in a way that provides benefits to the employee, to the workplace as a whole and to you? Consider this scenario: You are Karen’s manager.
In the Queen’s IRC Strategies for Workplace Conflicts course, we start by asking participants what they would particularly like help with in their workplace. A common response is “difficult / high conflict people”. However you define it, this is a huge challenge in today’s workplace and, unless it is handled well, it takes significant time, energy and expertise away from the work to be done. Most people have heard about Serena Williams’ public outburst at the U.S. Open this fall. Her behaviour and words were shocking and unexpected.
It may seem like an oxymoron to have the words “benefit” and “conflict” in the same sentence. Our workplaces today often involve varying levels of interpersonal and institutional conflict and so much energy is devoted to prevention and management it is understandably difficult to understand how conflict could possibly have a positive side!