Everyone has personal sets of values from which they make personal and professional decisions. Values differ from person to person making values an inherent bases from which conflict may emerge. As a leader and as an employee, exploring different examples of value conflict in the workplace can help you strengthen your ability to identify and handle them when they arise.
Examples of Value Conflict in the Workplace
Individual values ought to be respected unless they create harm for others, which is why getting to understand the importance of personal values and learning how to hold complexity in these cases is important, especially if you run an organization. Here are some examples of value conflict in the workplace and how to respond:
A values conflict may look something like one employee wanting to head out on time to catch their child’s soccer game while another employee expects to stay late to finish a collaborative assignment. These two team members may experience tension as they are working toward the same goal but have differing values that will change their method of reaching that goal. When navigating how to solve conflicts at work that deals with personal values, it’s important not to expect anyone to just blanketly surrender their value. Instead validate that going to your child’s soccer game is important and there can be a middle ground creatively identified in another area, whether that’s pulling in more resources, using different tools, or finding other times to put in extra work. Either way, make resolving misunderstandings a priority.
When colleagues team up to work on a project, they may eventually find that they don’t have the same ideas on how to execute their goals. In fact sometimes colleagues may disagree on the ethics or appropriateness of a certain way of executing a goal. Conflict can erupt from the pressure and tension of this, especially if the stakes are high and the fear of consequence is equally high. Learning how to deal with coworker conflict in these situations includes being respectful of these differences, knowledgeable of workplace policies and procedures, and mindful of how to de-escalate tensions so that grounded and effective conversations can be had.
One of the most challenging examples of value conflict in the workplace comes when law or politics creates need or limitations at work that employees don’t align with. This can create a tension within an individual and their sense of agency with they arrive to work. This tension can mean regular conversations may escalate more quickly, sparking interpersonal conflict in the workplace or larger HR issues. This is a challenging on to navigate as certain laws or business policies may need to be enforced while employees and their individual choices ought to remain respected. In these cases, bringing in professionals to help you navigate organizational conflict can turn potentially costly issues into opportunities for growth.
Learning about examples of value conflict in the workplace can help you become more equipped to recognize them within your own organization. If you find yourself needing additional support navigating conflict at work, reach out to the professionals. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.