Let’s face it: There’s no such thing as a conflict-free office. We fight at work.
We disagree about how to implement a new IT system. We battle over which strategy to pursue. We engage in turf wars about who gets to lead
the website redesign project. And sometimes, we just act like passive-aggressive jerks toward one another.
And as uncomfortable and draining as conflict can be,conflict in and of itself isn’t really the problem.
It’s how we handle it that matters.
The Benefits of Conflict
Luckily, however, when handled well, conflict can have positive outcomes: It can help you be more creative,spark new ideas, and even strengthen bonds with your coworkers.
“Conflict allows the team to come to terms with difficult situations, to synthesize diverse perspectives, and to make sure solutions are well thought out. Conflict is uncomfortable, but it is the source of true innovation and also a critical process in identifying and mitigating risks”
Here are some of the specific benefits:
Better work outcomes:
When you and your coworkers push one another to continuously ask if there’s a better approach, that creative friction is likely to lead to new solutions.
Opportunity to learn and grow:
As uncomfortable as it may feel when someone challenges your ideas, it’s an opportunity to learn. You gain experience from incorporating feedback, try new things,and evolve as a manager. When a peer criticizes you out after an important presentation because you didn’t give her team credit for their work, the words may sting, but you’re more likely to think through everyone’s perspectives before preparing your next talk.
By working through conflict together, you’ll feel closer to the people around you and gain a better understanding of what matters to them and how they prefer to work.You’ll also set an important precedent: that it’s possible to have “good” fights and then move on.
When you’re not afraid to constructively disagree, or even fight, about issues at work, you’re likely to be happier to go to the office, be satisfied with what you accomplish, and enjoy interactions with your colleagues.
Various sources of conflict
There are four main types: relationship (a personal disagreement), task (disagreement over what the goal is), process (disagreement over the means or process for achieving a goal), and status (disagreement over
your standing in a group).
The second piece of information you need is to understand your options Generally speaking, there are four from which to choose when confronting a conflict.
The first,which is more common than you might think, is to do
nothing. You don’t say anything to your colleague, you
let the comment go, or you simply walk away and go on
as if the conflict hasn’t happened.
The second option is to address the conflict, but indirectly. Instead of talking
through what’s going on with your coworker, you might involve your boss or a third party, or hint at the conflict without ever candidly naming it. This option is more common in cultures such as in India, where saving face
The third option is to address the conflict directly.
The final option—and typically your last resort—is to exit the relationship.
There are generally two types of people: those who gravitate toward conflict and those who want to take cover under their desks whenever
Avoiders tend to shy away or even hide from disagreements.
Seekers are more eager to engage in conflict when it arises (or even find ways to create it).
Hope I have been able to explain what conflict is all about. I shall be discussing conflict management in my upcoming blogs.