What creates conflicts at work and how to resolve part of them?

Conflicts at work have not just a bad influence on people they have a bad influence on our economy. Based on an estimation of 2.5 hours a week that are spent on conflicts and resolving them, the total toll of conflicts on the market is around $400B a year. 

Poor communication, personality Clashes, different work styles and values, workplace competition, conflicting goals, conflicting needs, and pressure are the most common causes of conflicts at work. We believe those are all symptoms of a problem that started with unclear definitions of roles and expectations. The work environment is a cluster of people interacting with each other. When there is a gap in requirements or expectations between reality and what people have in their heads, a conflict emerges.

Once a seed of conflicts started to develop roots all the above causes start to kick off and increase the conflict to a level that impacts people and the working environment. Focus on clear definitions of roles and expectations from them is a way to reduce conflicts. In most companies, role definitions are hard to find and not reflecting reality. Expectations exist just in people’s heads.

Hierarchy might provide some clarity on roles, but most of the people’s interactions in the modern working environment are with people outside of their hierarchical structure. Therefore, most of the interactions in the working environment are operation under unclear definitions of responsibility and expectations. It is based on the assumption that people will figure it out. $400B, and your daily experience proves this assumption wrong.

Exploring and understanding interactions, impacts, and flows between people and groups is the first step in creating clarity. The second step, which is a building block on top of the first one, is a repository that holds roles responsibilities, assets managed and expectations. This repository holds who is filling which role and it’s available for all the people in an organization. Last but not least, this repository also contains all interlinks between people. The formal and the informal.

Galaxies spend time and effort to create a framework that enables capturing and depicting interactions. We also created a proprietary solution that enabled organizations to capture not just the interlinks but all the responsibilities and expectations mentioned above. 

Without capturing all interactions, impacts, and flows, there will be gray and undefined expectations and responsibilities between people filling different roles. Every gray definition between people plants the seeds of conflicts. Focus on interlinks enables to minimize the gray area and reduce significantly conflicts in the working place.

Another finding that our software solution is trying to address is the monolithic structure of the role or job description. Those two are usually tailored to a person and not to the business goals. Galaxies suggesting to move away from the monolithic job description into smaller and modular “functions”. Functions are usually created to manage one asset needed to reach a business goal. Therefore, a person can fill one or more functions. 

Functions provide accurate mapping of what people are doing to business goals. They are smaller building blocks that enable faster changes and adoptions of organization structure. Our software enables to define interlinks between functions, therefore one someone fills a function he knows all of his responsibilities, expectations, and interlinks. This method and supporting software enable agility in companies’ structure that organizations didn’t have before.

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