The majority of professional workers will, at some point in their career, experience a conflict with a direct supervisor or manager. That conflict may be related to differences in personality, communication style, culture, gender conflict or other reason. Over time, like any relationship, friction within the office between a manager and employee can escalate, creating obstacles to productivity and a healthy, energetic and positive professional culture.
If you have a conflict with your current boss or manager, you have likely weighed your alternatives, the easiest of which would be to leave your position and company, and find a new employer. However, if you sincerely love the organization that you work for, your department and the responsibilities of your position, does it make sense to leave a great job because of a conflict?
The Employer’s Perspective
Believe it or not, the employer will not by default, side with the concept of an infallible manager. From our global experience with hundreds of progressive organizations and brands, employers value all personnel, from entry-level to seasoned executives, particularly if they are performing very well in their role. It costs an employer a lot of time, money and margin of error, lost productivity and frustration to have to replace an experienced employee with a new recruit. Their first choice is to keep the team intact, and retain star performers.
How does an employer react when an employee approaches (through the human resource department) with a conflict that is creating duress? Mediation.
The Manager’s Perspective
In some cases, a manager may not even be aware of the reasons that have contributed to an interpersonal conflict; and sometimes the reasons are very clear, and not acknowledged by the employee. The breakdown in communication, or in the professional relationship can sometimes be salvaged with a heart-to-heart and meeting between the manager and the employee. By opening up the channels of communication, problems and perceptions can be aired, and often the conflict can be resolved.
It is important to remember that, like the employer, a manager is unlikely to want an employee who is effective within their role to leave. The loss of expertise and productivity impacts the manager also, and most are very willing to work together to overcome the issue, and create a peaceful and positive work environment.
It can feel awkward to address a personal conflict within a professional environment. However, if you enjoy your role, organization and position within the company, it is worth trying to work out the issue in a positive way. The worst that will happen is that you, as the employee, option yourself to other companies and find a new role elsewhere. The best that will happen, is an honest dialogue and resolution, that allows you to continue working with the company you love, and expanding your career opportunities with a quality employer.