We’ve all seen employee tiffs get out of hand – rumours being circulated around the water cooler, secret emails being drafted to HR or even a full-out spat in the hallway. Conflict occurs when there is some disagreement – either with the way someone thinks or behaves or with their belief systems, explains Latifa Soobedar, founder and CEO of Corporate Wellness. It can also be the result of misunderstanding that stems from using idiomatic language that has different meanings across cultures.
In the UAE, direct confrontation is not as prevalent as a passive aggressive approach, she says. “It’s very covert, as there is the issue that people don’t feel as secure as they do in other countries. The lack of security in terms of their jobs makes it less likely that people will get into a severe conflict, especially with their seniors.” However, this does not mean that they don’t struggle with the conflict or that there aren’t ego or personality clashes.
It can be easy to dismiss these signs of conflict as unprofessional attitudes, but office squabbles are generally a sign of an underlying issue.
The key to tackling these problems is for people to understand that they have different belief systems and to cultivate an attitude of respectfulness, says Soobedar. It’s also important to practice effective communication techniques by focusing on whether you are looking to ‘build or break’ a relationship.
Meanwhile, employers need to make sure that there is an effective human capital management system in place, says Naveen Martis, general manager at Profiles International UAE, operating in the field of psychometric assessments. According to him, managers should work on building trust through effective and transparent communication, while also ensuring they carry out personality assessments to become aware of conflicting personalities and information on how to deal with these differences.
It is crucial that employers address these issues, adds Mansour. “The demands of quality talent have increased over the years. This, combined with the fact that there is an increase in the number of millennials whose focus on quality work/life is high on their priority list, means that such conflicts result in high employee turnover and decreased engagement and productivity.” He notes that, with competition increasing in the UAE market, it’s crucial that companies focus their efforts on the “engagement of personnel”.
Sunday, June 8- 2014 @ 15:27 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.