Conflict has a negative image associated with it.
Most of us try to stay away from conflict, choosing to separate ourselves from the stress that comes with yelling matches and disagreements.
This is especially true for conflict in the office, as few individuals would say that they want to battle issues with their bosses, colleagues, employees or clients.
However, while not desired, conflict does not have to be escalated to screaming and hurt feelings, it can simply be a difference of opinion that needs to get resolved.
Conflict can actually be good for business, causing benefits, such as:
Collaboration – A group of people will not always have the same thoughts, ideas or actions. This is why conflict at work is unavoidable, and will spring up at some point. While some employees will refuse to deal with it, avoiding conflict at all costs, this can backfire. When staff members have to work together for a common cause, they need to collaborate and come to a decision. While this is not always easy, such as deciding what a better course to take is, conflict is crucial to come to a final agreement on how to move forward. Without a peaceful conflict resolution, collaboration is impossible at the workplace.
Innovation – Many companies and employers are slow to accept change. When the ball is rolling, they want to keep the status quo as is. However, “handled well, the clash of ideas, claims, interests and preferences can be a positive force, exposing the weaknesses of positions and leading to creativity, innovative problem-solving and growth,” explains an article in Success.com. The article explains why good managers should love conflict, as it exposes weak areas that need improvement in work-related issues and strategies, and, if handled correctly, will bring with it progress and positive change.
Relationship Building – Positive conflict resolution strategies will not only lead to collaboration and innovation, but will also create and strengthen relationships at work. To resolve a conflict, the parties involved need to really communicate using logic, reason and listening skills. During this process, newfound respect for someone else’s opinion, or common ground based on similar viewpoints, can lead to the formation of rapport between colleagues and even clients. Conflict also provides managers, specifically, with a way to find those employees that are not afraid to state their mind and go against the common opinion; those workers are usually good future leaders!
Conflict does not have to be a negative experience that causes chaos in the office. If managed well, it can bring about positive changes to the corporate culture. As a manager, teach your staff the communication and listening skills they need to deal with issues as they arise.
Head of Training
Originally published: 25 March, 2015
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