Finally they do the same job therefore there s a possibility of workplace competition causing conflict. Although the most obvious sign of the conflict is the argument between the colleagues there may have been signs before this. Unfortunately there is not enough background information given about the history, however it could be speculated that someone could have left the role before John and therefore was unhappy in their role and relationships at work. I would hope as a manager would have been able to identify and resolve this conflict before it got to this stage.
However the role might also be new, if this is the case Mike eight be used to working on his own and therefore might feel he does not need any help. This could have included a meeting that turns into a stand- off or angry emails to each other. However due to Mikes personality the conflict could have been harder to discover - for example, Mike have withdrawn from contact with John however from John perspective this is normal behavior from Mike. Any change from normal behavior could be a sign of conflict or an issue therefore would consider this as a sign.
Sign of conflict ;When John finally appears, Mike tells him he's not going to cover for IM anymore and there is an argument. The cost of this conflict might already be taking place through a loss of productively, motivation and them not willing to work for each other. John stating 'Just do your Job' could be a sign this is already hipping. Dealing with employee conflict in a timely manner is important to maintaining a healthy work environment preventing the situation getting worse resulting in staff sickness or even one member of staff leaving.
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By spotting signs of conflict early, you have a better chance of identifying the cause, reaching an agreement, resolving the conflict. It is important to deal with the situation rather than the person, be a calming presence and that you try to build mutual respect and understanding between Mike and John. Being courteous to each of them and remain constructive. Sometimes it might be better to speak to them individually to get the facts before exploring the options together and negotiate how they are to work together.
Through this process active listening is important to understand both Johns and Mikes position as well as them understanding each others. My role would be to Restate, paraphrase, summarize. This verbal approach is called the "Interest-Based Relational (FIR) Approach". This will be particularly important in John and Mike's situation because it respects individual differences and focuses on the mutual problem rather than the person. It is important look at the circumstances, and think about the style that may be appropriate.
Then use a process to resolve the conflict. The Thomas-Killing Conflict Resolution model could be used to do this. It is important understand a person's natural style. From the information in the narrative John is likely to take a competing approach this is assertive and uncooperative an individual pursues his own concerns at the other person's expense. This approach is unlikely to be effective for John to use because it is a power-oriented mode where John holds no rank. However it is an approach that could take as a middle manager with supervision responsibilities.
This is not an approach I would initially take, but could do if other methods fail. The other approach could be to be accommodating, the individual neglects his own concerns to satisfy the concerns of the other person. If any of the party did this it is not likely to resolve the issue. The accommodating party might feel the situation has not been dealt with and the conflict still remain. Mike had been Avoiding the issue for a while which had caused anger to build up and the argument to erupt.
If took the same approach due to the differences in value and personalities they are not likely to resolve the issue themselves and the problem is not likely to go away. A more appropriate approach might be to collaborate to work with others to find a solution that fully satisfies their concerns. For example Fijian arrives late John might agree to stay on later. The final option could be to compromise. For example an agreement might be made where John arriving 5 minutes late is not an issue, but John might agree not to arrive 20 minutes late.
Thus finding a middle ground. Having an open discussion with Mike and John might help identify other problems that need to be resolved, but also promote understanding and motivate them to work more efficiently. It is important to keep a close eye on the situation including having formal one to one meetings, receiving feedback from other employees, but also ensuing they value each other's difference to the extent they can work with each other threaten to improve the work environment and the performance of the business.
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