How to Manage When Values Clash
Use these six steps to keep the peace when values clash.
Welcome to Mind Tools' video learning series.
Your values govern the way that you live and behave. You could be guided by principles of honesty, integrity, or fairness, for example.
But, different people have different values. And, research shows that, in modern workplaces, we are much less inclined to put our own principles aside to fit in with other people's, or those of our employers.
Conflicts like this can become problematic, particularly if they're ignored. Sometimes, both sides will "dig their heels in" and insist that they are right. When this happens, neither side can move forward. Other people suppress their true feelings for the "greater good" – but, in time, this can affect their happiness and productivity at work.
So, what can you do when you manage people whose values clash?
First, get the parties talking. Encourage them to listen to one another's viewpoints, calmly and respectfully. Be clear that opposing values aren't necessarily right or wrong – just different.
Next, see if there's any common ground that the two sides share. Is there any way you can come to a "win-win" solution which accommodates both sets of values?
If you can't find common ground, however, you may have to decide whose values to prioritize. For example, if one of your team member's values is in conflict with your organization's, remind him of his obligations to the business, and to its values and mission.
If you still can't resolve the issue, and you don't want to risk losing him, consider moving him to a different role or department where he won't have to compromise his principles.
There may also be times when a clash of values occurs because someone has behaved inappropriately or unethically. In these cases, you should seek advice from your manager or HR department.
Finally, you can avoid a repeat of such clashes by recruiting people who embody the same values as your team or organization. For example, by building values into your person specification when recruiting.
You may still be managing people with diverse values, but make it a priority to build a team based on some core, shared values like trust, emotional intelligence, mutual acceptance, and positive communication.
To learn more about managing people whose values clash, read the article that accompanies this video.