Catching conflict early is a key part of resolving it effectively. All too often I get calls saying, “this came out of nowhere.” But when I dig a little deeper, I find that there were ample warning signs and indicators that managers and supervisors failed to notice. Don’t let that happen to your organization.
Here are a few warning signs of growing conflict.
• A high rate of absenteeism, stress leaves, sick leaves
• More people than usual asking to work from home. This might indicate people avoiding the workplace for emotional reasons.
• People working through backchannels. Perhaps they need information from a co-worker or another department. But instead of asking directly, they go through an intermediary. If people consistently avoid dealing with a particular individual or department, you should definitely investigate.
• Using outside suppliers where there are internal resources. Again, any actions that shows employees going through some kind of subterfuge in order to avoid others is a warning sign.
• Meetings where no one talks. Surface harmony may mask deeper conflicts or indicate that people are afraid to speak up. Whatever the reason, too much silence should sound as a big warning bell.
If you notice one or two of these, it probably isn’t a big deal. If you notice three or more, however, it is worth investigating.
About the images: 1) By Christina Morillo; 2) By Mary Whitney. Both courtesy Pexels.