Limit workplace conflicts: Perspectives and imperatives


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

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