April is Workplace Conflict Awareness Month. There are many issues which lead to conflict in the workplace. Building a strong collaborative work environment is possible if you have the right processes in place.
We’re not sure who comes up with these special days, weeks or months, but many of these events offer valuable occasions to look at how we live or work and make positive changes.
Why do we have conflict in the workplace?
Any time you get a disparate group of people together there are bound to be disagreements. Even families and friends fight, work isn’t any different.
We all have different work styles, points of view, and ways of communicating. Personality differences play a big part in conflict.
Add to that the corporate culture. Does your company have the right processes in place to contribute to a collaborative work environment?
We aren’t going to get into things like harassment, or serious issues such as prejudice or bullying or other forms of criminal activity that can make your place of work a living hell. That isn’t our area of expertise.
One way to foster a positive work environment and avoid conflict is to ensure that your employees have the right tools to do their job and that they are happy doing their work because the processes have been streamlined.
We all have to do work that we don’t like, but some people can manage that and others have more difficulty. Ask anyone who has hired interns. They will tell you that interns come in expecting to be given work that is challenging and interesting and when they find out that they are sitting at a desk all day inputting data into a database, some of them react badly.
Most companies hire interns for free, or for an honorarium or minimal pay to give them the opportunity to gain experience in an industry or occupation. If they are only given grunt work, which is how they see it, they don’t feel that they are learning. By giving interns access to innovative software to do their job faster, they will accomplish more for you and have more free time to learn other aspects of the business.
Another issue is sharing work. If you are collaborating on a project with a colleague and you have different work styles, this can lead to conflict.
Your company should practice consistency in work practices. Here is an example that is ancient, but maybe you are old enough to remember. For you interns, here is a history lesson. Back in the 1980s, when we still called it word processing, there was Corel WordPerfect and Microsoft Word. The two were not compatible. Eventually there was a way to make the two programs work together, and as we know, the giant that is Microsoft pretty much crushed the popularity of WordPerfect.
WordPerfect is still around, and some people prefer it. When the two programs were not compatible, it was a pain for anyone who was working with someone using the other software.
The same type of thing happens if you have a co-worker who is sending you information in a PDF that you have to merge into your own work. It can be frustrating to have to fiddle with programs or spend time trying to figure out how to get their chart into your spreadsheet.
By using a PDF to Excel converter, you will be able to do this without frustration and avoid workplace conflict. That is what software is meant to do.
Just as the big software companies resolved the conflicting word programs, you can resolve your workplace issues by implementing and using programs that encourage collaboration.