When there is unresolved conflict in the workplace between two individuals or involving multiple parties, depending on the degree and nature of the conflict, a dysfunctional work unit will develop and exhibit some or all of the following.
- limited communication between fellow employees,
- low productivity and inefficiency
- high absenteeism
- verbal altercations
- misaligned employee cliques.
In order to determine the appropriate intervention, an assessment of the current workplace climate is needed. The assessment can be straightforward where the dysfunction is limited between two employees. Information provided by the Manager and Human Resource staff can in most cases provide sufficient background. This background information will then be supplemented by discussions with the two employees involved.
Where the problems in the work group involve a number of employees and or a number of reporting levels within the organization, the assessment will likely involve more extensive investigation with a range of people.
Depending on the degree and nature of the problems identified, some form of intervention may be needed. This can include.
- team building,
- conflict coaching
Generally, the common threads in all dysfunctional work groups are lack of trust and ineffective conflict resolution skills. Patrick Lencioni in his book ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ provides a broader analysis of ineffective work groups or teams. Lencioni’s pyramid of the elements of dysfunction is a helpful framework for analyzing team ineffectiveness. You may prefer a positive way to analyse the functioning of a Team and this can be done by the inverse of Lecioni’s elements as follows.
An Effective Team
- Has trust among its members
- Addresses conflict constructively
- Has commitment to its purpose
- Accepts accountability
- Is attentive to results
‘The accompanying PPT presentation titled ‘Workplace Dynamics’ provides a capsule overview of the unique nature of workplace conflict and ideas about how to understand and effectively respond to conflict.
Download Workplace Dynamics Powerpoint