The True Cost Of Workplace Conflicts

This month is filled with a roller coaster ride of emotions. Concluding my September was a big event that my branch held. This nationwide event stirred varying conflicts of different degrees. The highly stressful environment induced a simple misunderstanding, which became a whole ordeal among the team. You see, some people began taking sides. A week has passed before my boss noticed that something is wrong. He needed to resolve the problem immediately! Fortunately, his intervention worked out.

While business owners know that workplace conflicts affect productivity and employee morale, not many are aware that office drama can drain their funds. In 2008, the publishers of the Myers-Briggs Assessment and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument conducted a study on workplace conflict. Results showed that American employees spent nearly 3 hours per week in dealing with workplace conflicts. This is equivalent to approximately S$490 billion in paid hours or equivalent to 385 million working days. These crazy numbers pose an alert to people running the workplace.

Workplace conflict’s effects are not limited to time wasted. 25% of employees reported that they avoided conflicts by skipping work or by calling in sick. Equally alarming, nearly 10% reported that conflicts led to project failure. These negative behaviors translate to financial losses, especially felt by small businesses.

It is no secret that we spend our time comparing, gossiping, retaliating, and playing defense. These countless amounts of time is much rather spent on customer interactions and other productive activities. Navigating yourself around the whole drama is important. You do not want to lose some loyal customers just because two employees are tarnishing your organization’s image!

On that note, I have listed some practical ways to deal with workplace conflicts.

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1. Employers shall create a workplace environment that empowers employees to manage conflicts. Regardless of your employee’s role in the organization, HR officers must conduct behavioral questions that tests how one shall react during conflicts. For instance, an applicant may share about his or her previous experiences in dealing with workplace issues.

2. As a part of cultivating a conducive environment, you may encourage healthy dialogues or debates in small groups. Help your employees appreciate the value of differing perspectives and analyze each one.

3. As much as you want your employees to resolve their conflicts on their own, you must know where to draw the line. Do not expect that everyone can handle every problem on their own! Ensure that your employees can count on you when they have encountered inappropriate or illegal behaviors. You must be immediately notified when there are indications of physical violence, sexual harassment, theft, or substance abuse.

4. Remind your team that they shall focus on the unpleasant workplace behaviors and its consequences when trying to address a particular conflict. They must not take things personally. They are not there to assassinate someone else’s character. They are there to improve their team’s dynamics.

5. Provide ongoing training on conflict resolution and stress management. These types of training can lead to self-assessment and self-understanding of one’s conflict-management skills. Drills can help them identify the pros and cons of using a certain style.

6. As an employer, you must not put the workplace conflicts on top of your priority list. Actively listen to your employees and support them in every way possible. But, you do not have to automatically take ownership of their problems. Be able to discern whether an issue needs immediate action or not.

7. Say that one employee is consistently causing the workplace dramas. Furthermore, you do not see any improvements as time passes. Pull this employee aside and talk to him or her in a mature manner. Monitor his or her progress by talking to the team periodically. This can help prevent any future conflicts from spiraling out of control.

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As a leader, you must navigate around the issues with objective lenses. Know the truth of each sides and run through the possible interventions that you can offer. Every move counts!

Sources: 1, 2, & 3


How To Be A Positive Influence In The Workplace

There is a considerable amount of weight in Newton’s third Law of Motion. According to him: “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. Simply put, forces always come in pairs! No matter how small your action may be, it can either cause a positive or negative influence in the workplace.

Aim to radiate a pleasant effect in the workplace by considering the following ideals:

A Two-Way Street

Let us start with the basics. Without a shadow of doubt, influence is a two-way street. The more that you let others to incorporate their ideas to your vision, the more that they will be open to incorporate your ideas to their work. Take time to listen to your co-workers’ opinions and acknowledge their worth. You may also encourage other people to speak up.

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Being Polite Goes A Long Way

During a child’s crucial years, etiquette is one of the first things that you are expected to instill. You need to highlight the importance of treating others in a way that you want to be treated. Being able to say “please and thank you” in suitable situations can cultivate mutual respect. Whenever you are delegating a task to your subordinate or asking a favor to your boss, it is better to display good manners. People will go above and beyond to assist you when they are treated with courtesy and admiration.

Having good manners shows that you care about your co-workers the people around you. Furthermore, it can open doors to building lasting friendships.

The Familiarity Principle

I am going to introduce you to an interesting concept in Social Psychology – the Familiarity Principle. According to this principle, we are attracted to the people who are familiar to us. Repeated exposure to “familiar people” will increase our attraction toward them. We are magnetized by the people who share the same interests, attitudes, behaviors, or beliefs. Apply the Familiarity Principle to your workplace by finding a common ground between you and your co-workers.

Start by making time for casual conversations. Ask them about their weekend or rejoice over the upcoming holiday. Small talks can uncover parts of their personalities (e.g., food preferences) and can lead to meaningful conversations. Remain professional without prying or over-sharing. Building positive interactions with the people you work with will make challenging situations less stressful.

Bond with your co-workers outside of the workplace by taking the initiative to plan events or to dine outside. Having a good relationship with the team makes any workday fun!

Show Your Flexibility

There are two types of people in the workplace. The people who are receptive of change and the people who are resistant of it. Assertiveness is a truly positive trait. However, pushing your own beliefs to others can work against you in the long run. Showing your flexibility in every situation and accepting better opinions can increase the respect that people have for you. This does not mean that you have to let go of your beliefs entirely!

Firmly hold on to your beliefs when someone contradicts you. Then, arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. No matter how stubborn a person may seem, they are more likely to approach you when you show your flexibility.

Let Them Help You

Do you believe you know everything? Well, think again! You are not an omniscient being, nor is your boss. Every day gives us an opportunity to learn new things. Broaden your knowledge by learning something new from your peers and supervisor. Intellectual curiosity proves your humility and maturity. After all, you must let others to influence you in a positive manner before being able to influence them in the same light.

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Never be afraid to ask questions or to request help. If you are stuck with a certain project or assignment, ask for help! Accept support instead of settling for a mediocre result.

Sources:  1, 2, & 3


Don’t Share These Personal Issues In The Workplace!

Personal issues includes your family drama, emotional difficulties, boyfriend problems, and even your outstanding debt. These private issues can impact your ability to advance in your career. Thus, it is ideal to keep things on a balance beam. Put your “private life” on one end and the “work life” on another end.

It is inevitable to experience a crossover between these two, but you must deal with it in a healthy manner. Remember that oversharing is not always a good strategy!


As a financial writer, I respect the financial transparency between a husband and wife. I highly encourage open communication in a domestic setting. However, you must draw a thick line in a professional setting. Your co-workers do not want to hear about your financial woes as much as you do not want to hear theirs!

It is possible to earn similar salaries as your co-workers. Thus, you may perceive them as your allies who will emphatize with your financial circumstance. This is not always the case. Being in the same situation does not guarantee that they can provide decent advices to you. Seek professional help.


Workplace dramas spread like wildfire. To prevent this, employers do their best to maintain group harmony. It goes without saying that you should skip stories revolving your previous workplace termoils. I can vividly remember staying away from my co-worker who was utterly open about her unhealthy sexual encounters.

Yes! Stories such as a cheating boss, a dishonest co-worker, and a crazy office party are juicy. However, employers and other individuals tend to frown upon staff members with these type of past. Letting out your dramatic past will affect other people’s perception of your character and your worth ethics. Are you willing to risk those?


In the animal kingdom, a dog manifest its submission by rolling over and exposing its belly. The dog freely reveals his weakness to other trusted beings. You may unintentionally doing the same thing when you share too much about yourself.

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Some of your subordinates may take advantage of your weaknesses by giving you tasks that are beyond your capabilities. Furthermore, it may influence your employer’s decision when considering you for a promotion. Seek to do the opposite by demonstrating your strengths. Demonstrate your worth to the company today!


Let us face it – no marriage is perfect! Just listen to Beyonce’s “Lemonade” album. Not even Queen B and legendary Jay Z were spared from cheating scandals. A cheating party, a messy divorce, and a harsh breakup are all parts of life. You are bound to fight with these tides and thrive soon after.

No matter how seemingly acceptable these serious subjects are, you should not blurt out these issues to the workplace conversations. Digging up your relationship disasters communicates that you have a difficulty in separating your workplace and personal lives. This inability to discriminate between the two is a career-limiting trait.


While I was in a recent reunion with my ex-colleagues, our random topics led to sharing our personal views. It was the first time that we talked about our political and religious stances. You see, we usually steer away from these hot-button topics that trigger distinct reactions. Our current social positions allowed us to be more open about these topics. However, sharing our thoughts may have a different impact back when we were in the same workplace.

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It is easy for a casual comment on a particular religious sector to turn into a negative commentary. The negative effect may affect your professional opportunities. As much as possible, you must exercise religious sensitivity and political correctness. Keep these strong beliefs out of the workplace!

Sources: 1& 2