Kudakwashe Melisa Kapesa Human Resources
A friend of mine was recently fired from his job after an altercation with another employee which ended in a fist fight. What is of concern to me, is that this did not occur on the company‘s premises. He was simply called and handed a letter of dismissal without proper explanation. Is this fair? I feel that my friend’s rights have been violated.
It is unfortunate that your friend was involved in behaviour you described. However fighting at the workplace is considered a serious offence by most organisations and often bears the consequence of immediate termination. I noted that the incident did not take place on the company ‘s premises but however from the employer’s perspective whether the employee is off company premises, he or she remains an ambassador of that company and is expected to follow the appropriate conduct of behaviour at all times. An example is of a policeman, whether he is off duty, that will not make him less of a policeman and he is expected to behave in the manner in which a policeman should behave at all times.
Thank you for the feedback, continue emailing me at [email protected] or leave your written feedback at Manica Post building with either your comments, questions or even suggested topics. Last week we were talking about effective conflict resolution at the workplace, here we were sharing how to effectively resolve conflict at work as conflict is inevitable due to individual differences.
Today our focus is on fighting at work and the question is should one be made to pack their bags and hit the road after a “simple” disagreement? Moreover we will also talk about what to do after the “fight”, how to cope and not feel awkward about the situation, after all three quarters of your days are spent at work so you are bound to meet your “opponent” on a daily basis.
Workplace conflict is inevitable given the diverse work styles, cultures and generational gaps present at the workplace. Fighting does not always mean exchange of fists, it could be exchange of harsh words, threats, subordinate-supervisor power struggles, verbal harassment and use of discriminatory terms. Office conflict is one of the most stressful conflicts because it not only messes up your work life, sometimes it can spill over to your personal life, therefore there is need to be able to effectively bounce back after the conflict. There is need to find common ground between you and the other employee that you had a fight with.
Ignoring an in-office conflict will not make it go away. Therefore the first step is to invite the co-worker to talk, find somewhere private where you can both revisit the conflict and make your intentions clear to each other. Here there is no need to point fingers, or shift the blame. Remember the moment you point a finger, three fingers are pointing back at you.
The next step is recognise that both of you have a story. We are all different, therefore one person‘s definition of what a “fight” entails might be different from the next person. To another person a major fight may be seen as a mere disagreement.
Moreover here both parties should try and respect where the other person is coming from and when talking, they should give each other enough time to fully express thoughts and feelings. The individuals may call in an unbiased third party to make the flow of the discussion easier.
Furthermore they should talk about how and why they were affected by what the other person said and did; and both parties should be apologetic for anything they said or did that hurt the other person.
The next step is to listen in order to understand. The main reason why we have two ears and one mouth is that we should listen twice as much as we talk.
To conclude, work plays a significant role in our lives and it will be a shame for one to always dread going to work simply because of what the other person did or said to them.
Sometimes one should be willing to become the bigger person and give the other party the benefit of the doubt, after all living peaceful with others does not mean there is absence of conflicts, but that conflicts are resolved in an amicable manner.