Workplace conflict just seems to be a fact of life. It’s time consuming, kills motivation and is counter-productive. We’ve all seen situations where different people with different goals and needs have come into conflict. And we’ve all seen the often-intense personal animosity that can result.
What approach to take?
Workplace conflict can be incredibly destructive to good teamwork. Managed in the wrong way, real and legitimate differences between people can quickly spiral out of control, resulting in situations where co-operation breaks down and the team’s mission is threatened. This is particularly the case where the wrong approaches to conflict resolution are used.
The fact that conflict exists, however, is not necessarily a bad thing: As long as it is resolved effectively, it can lead to personal and professional growth.
What can you do?
The good news is that by recognising and understanding the different behavioural priorities and expectations of your team members, the chances of resolving conflict successfully are much higher. You can solve many of the problems that have surfaced, as well as getting benefits that you might not at first expect.
However… handle it badly and the results can be severely damaging. Conflicting goals and expectations can quickly turn into personal dislike. Teamwork breaks down. Talent is wasted as people disengage from their work. And it’s easy to end up in a vicious downward spiral of negativity and recrimination. Having the right techniques in your toolkit as a leader to manage this situation has never been more crucial.
So, take a positive approach to conflict resolution, where discussion is courteous and non-confrontational, and the focus is on issues rather than on individuals. Do this and as long as people listen carefully and explore facts, issues and possible solutions properly, conflict can usually be resolved effectively.
Reduce conflict, improve motivation and performance.
Want to learn more?