Workplace Conflict: 13 Signs You Need Help


Workplace Conflict: 13 Signs You Need Help

When I receive calls from employers seeking help for a workplace bullying or abrasive behavior situation, it is clear that the problem has been going on for quite some time – oftentimes years. So, I always ask:

What has happened that has prompted you to call for help now? What’s changed?

And oftentimes I learn that there has been a significant change and they believe that help is needed. The aggression is out of control and the cost/benefit analysis is starting to shift.

These are the most common answers I receive.

  1. Productivity is down and it can be measured and managers are noticing the failings in a department.
  2. Employees are logging more sick leave and using their healthcare benefits which is costing money for the company.
  3. Turnover is increasing and they are worried about their “future leaders pipeline” because people don’t want to tolerate it anymore and have other options.
  4. A key person his going out on sick leave and the cost of replacing this person is significant.
  5. Someone the managers know and respect is complaining about the aggression so that the complaint is taken more seriously.
  6. Productivity in the department is down but overtime is up, again cost/benefit analysis.
  7. Enthusiasm for projects, deadlines, and deliverables is declining and management is worried that they will not meet their goals.
  8. People are missing deadlines and those deadlines are critical to the health of the company.
  9. Office gossip and belligerence is on the rise so that the aggressive behavior and dissatisfaction is poisoning other departments.
  10. The time between outbursts from the aggressor is shortening. People seemed to be able to tolerate the occasional outburst, but the frequency and intensity of the outbursts are now impossible to ignore.
  11. The person identified as the aggressor is complaining about lack of support, lack of understanding, lack of qualified employees, and generally behaving like a victim of a conspiracy to ruin them, and this seems out of sync with the reality. Although managers see the complaints from the victim as an opportunity to tell the truth to the aggressor, they fail to do so.
  12. Managers have tried things like coaxing, cajoling, threatening, and pleading with the aggressor and nothing has worked.
  13. Managers are desperate. They do not know what to do about the aggression but realize that something must be done before they lose any more.

For another perspective on signs you have workplace conflict, read “9 Signs There’s an Office Bully in Your Midst

I’m Kathleen Bartle, a strategic consultant on workplace conflict to executives worldwide for more than 20 years. My work brings individualized solutions to your teams’ lost productivity, loss of key personnel, low morale, and the high costs resulting from bullying, abrasive behaviors and interpersonal workplace conflicts. You can contact me here.