Creating a Healthier Organizational Culture Amidst a World of Conflict

by Jody Ordioni

Creating a Healthier Organizational Culture Amidst a World of Conflict

The conflict has a way of attracting unnecessary attention. In a world, where 'viral' moments gain traction at lightning speed, organizations need to boost a culture that can prevent the cause of conflict. In the age of the internet, disputes can lead to a bad reputation quite quickly. Not only do people have a wider and faster medium to register their disputes, but employees are no longer afraid of speaking out against injustices. Thus, the need of the hour is for leaders to foster a healthier working environment. Employees should also make the workplace healthier and more comfortable for their colleagues, and try to avoid unnecessary conflict.

Bad News Travels Quickly

A few years ago, if the CEOs did not behave nicely towards their employees, it would be watercooler talk. Rarely would such behavior be discussed publicly. However, with the widespread use of technology and social media platforms, news can travel fast and anonymously. Yet, a significant reason for conflict going viral, apart from technology, is the shift that the professional space is witnessing. Workers are not hesitating to raise their voice against misdemeanors, since the public support against unfair acts has been rising. People are taking initiative with respect to making the workplace a better environment. Technology has played a role in amplifying the voices that are rising against injustices.

The current pandemic has also exposed the problem with an employer-employee relationship in organizations. Our studies have found that nearly 32% of employees have reported a decline in their relationship with their organizations. This means that they do not feel the same level of loyalty towards the company as before and would not particularly care about its reputation. Thus, it is necessary for company culture to not be toxic for the employees, rather help them professionally and mentally.

Leaders Should Take Charge

Though some viral conflicts will lead you to believe that problems will always be explosive, that is not the case. Physical and remote workplaces, both, are nonetheless saddled with conflict situations. In remote work culture, inappropriate behavior during video conferencing is the most commonly cited grievance. However, remote culture can often mask the problem till it becomes too heated.

It does not matter whether the situation of conflict has arisen due to the actions of a few individuals or if it is the consequence of an underlying structural problem in the company. Any situation of conflict, however, does cut away into the resources and time of the company. A single incident, today, can irreparably damage the reputation of the company and lead to a significant reckoning. Thus, the leadership has to actively seek out ways to address conflict and resolve it. The remote work culture can be informed by the pitfalls that were observed in the office work culture.

Responsibilities- Macro and Micro

Conflicts will inevitably arise in any organization. The question that should be answered is how is the conflict to be resolved?

Conflict resolution should occur with an open mindset. Rather than assuming that the other person with opposing views is attacking, one should listen and then present one's views on the matter. Listening to others with an open mindset will deepen relations in the workplace and also make employees feel that they are heard.

Individual efforts can be backed by the organization through conflict resilience training, from the top through to the bottom. Leaders taking charge and setting the tone for conflict resolution will inspire the employees to emulate the same behavior. By welcoming differing views on the same issue, the CEOs and addressing committee can indicate the willingness of the organization to organizationally address conflicts.

The Bottom Line

Even if all the required steps are taken, the conflict will always have the potential to go viral. This is the nature of social media and people will always share stories. Leaders will always have to worry about the reputation of their organization. However, by providing a platform for healthy disagreements, the organization can prevent conflict from turning ugly. If employees can discuss their problems in a healthy environment, then they don't need to resort to unhealthy mechanisms and would also boost their relations with their colleagues.

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