To get a sense of how diverse perspectives color people’s percep­ tions, she asked leaders at a global compan

To get a sense of how diverse perspectives color people’s percep­ tions, she asked leaders at a global company she was consult­ ing with to participate in an activity in which they were blind­ folded and asked to describe the puzzle pieces in their hands. She observed as people gave descriptions so different that they couldn’t figure out they were holding the same piece.

“Conflict is inevitable because we’re human beings and come from different backgrounds,” Reynolds says. That’s why organi­ zations need to remember to bring people together to get to know each other, she points out.

Brian Scala, an HR administrator, repeatedly saw genera­ tional clashes in his job at Vince and Associates Clinical Research Inc. in Overland Park, Kan. The Baby Boomers and members of Generation X saw the M illennial as lazy with poor work eth­ ics, while the M illennial viewed their older colleagues as less adaptable to change.

In one instance, two lab workers from different generations who performed the same job came to HR complaining about each

When Should You Seek Outside Help? While it’s better to address workplace conflicts as soon as possible and at a local level, sometimes you need out­ side help from a mediator, arbitrator or attorney. Experts say those situations include the following: • When potential legal issues are involved, such as alle­ gations of discrimination or harassment. • When the HR department doesn’t have the time or training to provide the conflict resolution assistance needed. • When there are patterns of recurring issues. • When the flare-ups are becoming abusive or resem­ ble bullying. • When a manager needs retraining that can’t be done in-house. • When the environment is so toxic it’s time to get everyone offsite so the office doesn’t trigger continuing negative responses.LI


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