Startups are usually founded by energetic and visionary individuals who oftentimes find themselves at logger’s heads either with their work colleagues or associates. This is quite understandable seeing to it that startups have a unique work culture where the hierarchy is rather flat. Also important is the fact that founders strongly believe that their ideas are ground-breaking and yield the potential to transform their environment hence everyone involved must put in the extra effort. However, while this is the case, the upbeat culture believed to bring in the much-needed success amongst startups is increasingly being fingered as the cause of troubles within their respective workplaces. In this article, therefore, I try to have a quick view of some of the causes of conflict in most startup workplaces.
Conflict can be defined as a clash between individuals which often arises as an outcrop of differences in thought processes, attitudes, understanding, interests, requirements and sometimes perceptions. There is a sense in which such a clash can be viewed as a natural outcome of all human interactions and should be treated as such when it happens. In the startup environment, if the conflict is correctly understood and effectively managed it can lead to increased creativity, innovation and productivity. Where it is not properly handled, it will undermine all the good you might find in an otherwise promising startup. It will not matter how well organised the business systems of a startup are arranged or how well the work environment is decorated with all the features for relaxation when two or more workmates are stuck in a negative situation the entire startup will suffer. Therefore, it becomes important for one to fully understand the possible causes of conflict in any given workplace to maintain productivity throughout the turbulence of conflict.
Diverging Goals And Objectives
When persons with differing goals and objectives are made to work on one project chances for conflict are high. The two individuals might come into conflict because there have a different understanding of how they supposed to work around a project should be done. In some instances, involved persons might have different outlooks towards the reward structures or their job profile. Because of the diverging goals and objectives harboured by individuals supposedly working together in a project, interpersonal conflicts are bound to result.
Unfair Evaluations Of Work Performance
This usually relates to how given start-up management will interact with its subordinates when it comes to reporting on progress. In the workplace, some setbacks and future conflicts will result in situations where management fails to evaluate team performance based on a concrete scorecard. In such a scenario, team members might be dissatisfied with given feedback on occasions where their input is graded as poor. Without clearly labelled score cards chances are that judgements passed by superiors will be interpreted in a personal rather than professional sense. It thus becomes important that when evaluations are made, clear benchmarks and scorecards be laid out in the onset this will guard against misunderstandings.
No Feedback Rendered
Perhaps getting no feedback is the worst thing that can happen to any startup team and one that is bound to rouse resentment and cause a great deal of conflict. If you are a startup founder and you are leading a team, you should appreciate the fact that giving your team no feedback is as good as telling them on their faces that they don’t exist. Worse still, failure to give feedback to your team might be interpreted as if you think their work is not visible or possibly not valuable. Now, feedback should not be seen only as an ego-stroking mechanism but a gesture that will help your team to understand their real performance. It also works much towards removing any brooding discontent which might be inherent amongst your team members.
The ego is good insofar as it props up one to be confident and assertive, but if left to run wild it might lead to unbearable clashes amongst those with strong egos. This is because in the startup spaces a lot of raw and seasoned talent is recruited and each respective person always has a strong sense of self and their talent. This has a huge potential of affecting how people of talent will interact if mutual respect is not cultivated amongst team members. Hence, on the backdrop of the startup culture of multitasking and teamwork the possible age gaps and level of understanding will often cause ego clashes which could stand as a stumbling block in the carrying out of the organisation`s activities.
One would appreciate the fact that perhaps the most challenging situation in the journey of an entrepreneur comes when decisions have to be made. Now, decisions can either be good or bad yet they have to be made, but very few people understand this fact. Resultantly, where there emerge differences in opinions amongst key decision-makers, no one wants to risk making a wrong decision hence conflicts arise. It thus becomes important for startup co-founders to appreciate the dynamism involved in making decisions to a degree that when conflict surfaces while making one, they should be in a better position to handle it.
Therefore, the above are some of the contributory factors leading to conflicts in startup organisations. It will be rewarding for an entrepreneur to understand the nature of conflict to better handle them when they surface.