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Team problems- 5 common conflicts between coworkers and colleagues at the office

Let us look at some of the common team problems, conflicts, and issues between coworkers and colleagues at the office and their possible solutions.

Team problems- Conflicts between coworkers and colleagues at the office

1. I and my colleague joined this company at the same time. We both have worked hard over the last 3 years, but only he got promoted and not me. I believe that I deserved this promotion. What should I do?

There is no obligation on a company to promote an employee, no matter how many years he or she has worked for. Getting promoted is a function of a lot of factors and differs from case to case.

In general, promotion depends on 2 factors- Performance and Behavior. And you should be good at both to get recognized and promoted. Look at the 4 types of employees that make every company’s culture and how companies look at them.

The rule of thumb is to talk directly to your boss or manager, and understand where he/she believes you lacked. Some of you may not feel comfortable having this discussion, but this is often the best way to solve this problem. The advantage of such discussions is that they will often uncover what are called blind spots. Blind spots are problems/habits you never knew about. It can be eye-opening and will give you benefits in the long run, as you get to know yourself better.

Another possibility is that after the discussion with your boss, you get to know that your performance and behavior were good enough, but there was some other factor which has influenced his/her decision. In such a case, it is not a bad idea to start looking for opportunities outside.
Sometimes companies do not value an employee till the time he/she decides to leave. However, always have a valid and genuine reason for leaving, your next employer is definitely going to ask you for it.

2. I am working in a team, but my colleague/coworker always gets the most important work in all the projects and I am always given some side work. What should I do?

This is one of the common team problems these days.
There maybe be one of the below 2 situations-

a. Your boss or manager does not have confidence in your ability and believes that you will not be able to produce the expected quality of work.

If this is the case, do not worry. In the office, ‘The first impression is not the last impression’. Your manager’s perception is temporary and you will get many chances to change it completely. If you are serious about your career- learn and study more about your work, acquire the necessary skills, and work hard to be much better at your job. Once that is done, go ahead and ask your manager to give you more work. Sometimes in the office, you need to ask for it! Once you get it, work really well on it, go the extra mile and prove your worth. As Amy Gutmann famously said —
‘Well done is better than well said ‘

b. Your boss or manager doubts your attitude and seriousness towards work.

Do you often come late to the office? or Do you have conflicts with your colleagues? or You are often late in submitting your work?
Your manager observes you more than you think. Coming late to the office may not be a big deal, but being late almost every day speaks a lot about your seriousness. Or if you regularly have fights with colleagues in your team, it leaves a bad impression on your boss. If this is the case, changing small habits will go a long way. Try it and you will see yourself being taken much more seriously.

3. My colleague is always talking bad about me behind my back to everyone in the team including our boss. I think he has a personal problem with me. I fear that my team members and boss will get a negative image of me. What should I do?

This is another one of the common team problems.
Let me assume that you got to know this from one of your friends in the team. If you have not done anything illegal, unethical, dishonest, or something injurious to anyone, do not worry.
Here are a couple of famous quotes very apt to this situation-

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

“Those who talk about others, have lots to hide about themselves
— Unknown

People who have a habit of talking bad about other people behind their backs get noticed in the company. They get a bad reputation pretty soon and people start ignoring them and their words. However, being in this situation, the first thing you can do is to talk to this person in private. Discuss what you overheard and try to resolve the issue one to one. If you are able to sort it out, well and good.
However, if you again find him/her doing the same, raise the issue directly with your boss or the HR. The office is a place to work and managers recognize the importance of keeping its sanctity. That person will be in a weaker position in the future, as this type of behavior can affect a lot of things including his/her own appraisal.

4. My colleagues at the office do not talk to me as I am from another country and they all have the same nationality. What should I do?

There can be two ways to look at it:

a. Maybe all of them are close-minded and don’t want to mingle with anyone who does not speak their language or is from a different culture. However, the probability of this is very low.
Based on my own experience of working in a multicultural environment, people are very different even though they may all belong to the same country. All of them cannot be unwelcoming. There will always be a mix- some friendly and welcoming people in the group and some reserved ones who take time to open up.
You need to identify the welcoming lot and start interacting with them, probably hanging out with them during lunchtime or coffee breaks or smoke breaks. Once you get to know a couple of people, sooner than later, it will have a cascading effect and you will be comfortable with the rest of them.

b. Maybe most of them are friendly and welcoming, but you have never taken the initiative to talk or interact with them. If you are the only person from another nationality, you will need to make a little more effort to get to know other people. There is always an initial reluctance when people don’t know your background and so they may be naturally cautious.
However, if you show interest in talking to them and being cooperative, sooner than later, you will find yourself surrounded by many new friends 🙂

5. I work in a team of 5 employees where we have a collective sales target for the entire team. There are no individual targets. Every month we hit our target and all of us get the incentive. However, the majority of sales are done by me and one of my colleagues. The rest of the team members (3 of them) do not put in the same effort. I feel that it is unfair. What should I do?

This is a common team problem faced around the world. In almost every sector that you can think of. Let us take the example of a team sport like baseball, football or cricket. Do all the players put in the exact same effort? Or do all of them have the same performance? Of course not. This is very natural. What matters, in the end, is the final result that the entire team produces together. So, as a team, if you are hitting your target every month and producing the desired results, you are doing a great job. Keep it up and don’t get distracted by these thoughts.

Talking about individual contributions, in your job, be the ‘Man of the Match’ and the ‘Player of the Tournament’ every time! A high performer will always be seen and will stand out in a crowd with ease. Remember, that the company is observing your work and managers know who is performing and who isn’t. The trick is to keep performing consistently, that is what matters in business. Do not be insecure, success will follow and reach you wherever you are!

We hope you liked the article. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

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