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One of the signs of a successful business is staff dynamics. Staff interaction could turn into a serious issue reflecting on the performance of the firm if the issue is not tackled in the early stages.
Almost every major corporation has specialists dedicated to manage staff conflict and ensure smooth interaction between employees at various levels. The size of your firm or the number of staff you manage, has no bearing, the potential for staff conflict is ever present.
As a successful manager, you must always bear in mind that there will be a source of conflict with any interaction between a group of people, human nature dictates this. You will be better prepared knowing what the signs and sources of potential conflict are.
Seniority conflict: in aviation there is a course taught by many airlines called” cockpit resource management”, this course was designed to keep the communications in the airplane cockpit smooth and eliminate any prejudice in the interaction between the pilot and the co-pilot. This course was developed because of the many fatal air craft accidents that were the result of seniority conflict between the senior airlines captain and the less experienced co-pilot. Many accidents would have been avoided had the captain listened to the continued warnings by his co-pilot.
Background conflict: in today’s global economy, it is common to find your staff made up of people with many cultural and religious backgrounds; this is an area open for potential conflict.
Gender conflict: there is general biased against women in managerial positions and many companies have tendencies not to hire women for IT positions.
Group conflict: various departments within the organization may compete for the same resources or one department may not communicate well with another department, which may have a serious impact on the work flow. Many universities today offer a degree program in “management information systems”, part of the program is to teach students how to facilitate communications between departments within the organization.
These are some major conflicts that I have experienced throughout my career; you may have experienced other types of conflict. As a manager you will need to maintain your calm and your objectivity as you deal with conflicts.
The next part of this article will go over some steps on how to deal with conflict within the work place.