Everything has two sides and the same applies to conflicts. There are both positive and negative conflicts so when they’re managed properly, conflicts can actually be a positive for your workplace.
Conflicts help you get a free flow of ideas which are important for effective decision-making and better performance.
If people don’t have the freedom to disagree, there’s very little out-of-the-box thinking and your employees may feel as though they don’t have a voice in the organisation.
Instead of stifling conflicts, great teams find ways to manage conflicts and create workplaces that drive them to succeed. A team with many conflicts or too few conflicts is likely to be dominated by a single leader, leaving no room for creativity. The goal is to have a healthy level of conflict and manage it effectively.
Every conflict is unique and so are the solutions. Each situation will bring something different, whether it’s the employees involved or the trigger of the conflict itself.
A manager or even a colleague should have the skills to take an objective point of view and apply workplace conflict management styles that match the scenario. Some workplace conflict management styles include:
This is all about putting the other party’s needs before your own and allowing them to ‘win’. This style is reserved for scenarios where you don’t care about the issue as much as the other. If you’re not interested in prolonging the issue, this could help you keep the peace in your workplace.
Also known as ‘lose-lose’, this style looks to arrive at a compromise where conflicted parties try to concede some aspects of what they want to arrive at a resolution. This is usually used if there’s a time crunch where any solution needs to be found fast, rather than the perfect solution.
This involves dealing with the conflict by ignoring it and removing the conflicted parties or evading the matter. It’s a great way to resolve a conflict by giving all parties some much-needed time to cool down, whether it’s by reassigning them to other projects temporarily or pushing deadlines.
This involves rejecting any compromise and not giving in to the other party’s needs. One party will try to continue the conflict until they get what they want and will not back down until they get their way. While it can resolve conflicts quickly, it can lessen overall morale and productivity.
Conflicts are a natural part of any organisation; however, if they are mishandled, there is always the possibility of the conflict resurfacing down the line. Our guide—resolving conflict in the workplace: strategies for a harmonious work environment—gives expert insights on the full impact of workplace conflicts and how to resolve them in an effective way.
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