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Peace Talks Are employee conflicts eating away your profits?

By Robert J. McGarvey

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Workplace violence gets the headlines, but is a less dramatickind of conflict eating away your profits? "When employees arebickering, pouting, arguing, it's costing youproductivity," says Albert Couch, a professional mediator inAkron, Ohio.

You know what these conflicts look like: John has stoppedtalking to Sue, Tim won't be on a team with Bob, and Mary yellsat just about everybody. Employees' voices get raised to loudvolumes, and, often, feelings are hurt and a sullen mood hangseverywhere. Why are they fighting? Maybe Oscar never makes freshcoffee when he drains the pot, Maria has let her desk turn into amessy jumble, and Boris blows his nose and throws the tissues onthe floor instead of in a basket.

Shouldn't people know better than to fight over littlethings? Maybe so, but the workplace reality is otherwise."Much conflict is rooted in small stuff, but the emotionsbehind the conflict are what matter," says Couch. "Thoseemotions can assume great significance."

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