There are a lot of things that contribute to workplace conflict. When a leader or owner of a company says to me, “why can’t they all just get along?” then they ask about doing a workshop, I can tell that they think the problem is mostly personality or communication skills. Well, that’s only part of the problem. What I have found is that when you increase the clarity you decrease the workplace conflict, aka DRAMA. Here are four things that contribute to workplace conflict due to a lack of clarity.
No Vision or Mission
Where there is no vision, the people perish. Why should they be motivated to row the boat if they don’t know where the island is? With no vision it’s easy to get distracted. Out of the thousands of distractions what immediately comes to mind is the island called, “Making everyone happy,” or the island called, “That’s not fair.” The vision helps you know when you are headed in the right direction. Anything…and I mean ANYTHING that does not support the mission or vision of the company is either drama or a distraction.
No Job Description
When there is no description of what is expected on the job, you get a lot of workplace conflict in the form of arguing whose job it is. A job description is useful to the employee so they know what is expected. Once they know exactly what is expected, the workplace relationships dramatically improve. A job description is useful to the leadership as a record of what is needed for hiring purposes. How can you be successful if you don’t know what success looks like? A job description adds clarity to define success as it relates to a specific job.
No Standard Operating Procedures
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew how to get the same successful results over and over? The reason for a standard operating procedure is two fold. First you have a documented system, or way of doing things so that you can train someone else on the blueprint for success rather than have them recreate the wheel. Second, the standard operating system helps you to master your energy. Once you have a defined process, you don’t have to think so hard, and when you have less stress you have less workplace conflict and better workplace relationships.
No Regular Communication
I hear this all the time from employees: “We don’t know what is going on, or why our managers make the decisions they do.” When employees feel out of the loop, this contributes to the rumor mill, assumptions, and story-telling. To eliminate the drama decide what you need to communicate on a regular basis, for example sales goals met, inventory controls, new policies, and how the economic conditions impact their well being and security. You can communicate regularly through a Web X production, live meetings or monthly memos. The important thing is make it easy and doable and you will decrease the fog and increase good workplace relationships.