BY TENDAI SAUTA
Devolution adviser Petros Paradzai Mandaza, executive director for an organization called Clean Wealth Creation (CWC) who is popular for mobilizing smart practice with provisions of knowledge and relevant coaching in agriculture, human capital development and entrepreneurship development has challenged entrepreneurs and employers in all types of ventures to resolve conflict sustainably in a publication entitled WORKPLACE CONFLICTS : PERSPECTIVES AND IMPERATIVES. Mandaza who works closely with the Correctional Services of Zimbabwe defines conflict as a difference or diverging opinions or ideas or interests that can emerge where people come together for purposes of doing business. Central to his teaching on work place conflicts Mandaza accuses common causes of conflict in the workplace to frequent and generally misunderstanding of each other (mindset issues), personal differences ,personality clashes, information deficiency,goal differences (personal and organization), lack of role clarity,threat to status,lack of trust, organisational changes, scarce resources and poor communication amongst others.
In a wide ranging interview Mandaza stressed that:
“A well laid out company structure with clearly defined duties and responsibilities helps in creating a good business smooth flow whilst developing watchfulness on problems and challenges that may emerge. A company can use different approaches or views or mindsets to address its imperatives or what has to be done and therefore challenges are difficult or undesirable situations, which can be resolved
whereas problems are impossible situations to which no solution can be proffered.
“In order to mitigate or eliminate workplace conflict, organizations must draft and implement appropriate documents. Examples of such basic documents include elaborate and user friendly Company Policies, clearly outlined Procedure Manuals, written down conditions of service and up dated Codes of Conduct. A conscious effort must be made , by all parties, so that conflict may be minimized , in the workplaces in order to increase production and productivity.”
Controversially Mandaza maintained that in real life, conflict is inherent and sometimes, conflict is a necessary evil. Conflict can yield both negative or positive results or outcomes. Therefore, appropriate techniques and methodologies should be used in order to identify, manage and resolve conflicts. In his write up Mandaza further asserts that both the employers and the employees must play their roles, in order to create a conducive working relationship. In the process, the customers’ needs will be met or even exceeded. Complementarity should be encouraged and competition for recognition, should be discouraged. Strife at any particular workplace or in any specific industry, has a negative effect or impact, on the Gross Domestic Product of a any nation. He said.
Mandaza said that there are several types of conflicts that may emerge at work places and usually are as a result of
leadership types, management styles,Inter dependency (departmental rivalry),different backgrounds and or personality clashes including several others. As such he resolved that fundamental principles on how to run successful organizations must be understood and implemented, in order to minimize conflict in the workplace.
“The signs and symptoms or signs of dissatisfaction include and are not limited to body language ( posture and seating positions), behavioral change, cliques or factions development , strange comments ( generally or during meetings), words people use ( negative language), people ganging up (in offices or in the factory/ during meetings),sickness absence increases,lack of creativity and motivation ( starting and finishing times),negative feedback in staff surveys,lack of tolerance, complaints / grievances increase
and disciplinary hearings increase in addition to plenty others.
“A proactive approach is recommended instead of being reactive and the role of leadership in dealing with workplace conflict can observed through identifying challenges that emerge everyday and be ready to face them especially when the older generation are now leaving the workplaces or the young leaders (millennials / Ama 2000) are taking over.”
Mandaza okayed that good leadership is characterized by a gender responsive flexible and flexitime concept which entails embracing new changes or work scenarios in addition to helping the employees to adapt to it. He encourages wittiness in terms of information literacy and competencies in addition to diverse advocates or multifaceted on open communication systems which stimulates empowerment of the whole organization without leaving no-one behind.
Employees are required to be honest, transparent and positive thinking including punctuality to work in a descent dress code and compliance is a must while they communicate respectfully and use the appropriate or designated channels. Mandaza reiterated that the sustainability or viability of an organization is defined by its ability to control financial implications (cost of litigation due to disputes should be taken into consideration), Business processes ( Operational Effectiveness and Efficiency are necessary), Clients / Customer focus ( needs and interests are a priority because they are the life blood of the organization ) and Organisational capacity.
In closing Mandaza brought to light that the Covid19 induced lockdowns brought a new way of workplace environment whereby people work from home and meetings being conducted virtually. As a response to this he encouraged people to develop effective digital competencies including laying out resilient