It may sound a little unusual to read that it is not always a bad thing to experience conflict at work. We have been programmed to think conflict is bad. At Verity, we prefer to treat conflict as a healthy reminder that change is inevitable, complacency is problematic and conflict are manifestations of a need to reflect, rethink and redesign a role, a work task or improve communication.
Ignoring conflict and/ or personalising it as a person’s problem is when conflict can erode performance, undermine the organisation’s culture and negatively impact business outcomes and customer experience.
There are options to managing conflict. At Verity, we take a half-glass full approach and suggest the following order:
- Recalibrate the team on its objective/s – emphasis the common goals of the team to diffuse or analyse the conflict.
- Collaboration – seek mutual problem-solving. A problem shared is a problem halved.
- Compromise – seek to give up something for the greater good.
- Smoothing – value diversity of views and play down perceived differences.
Of course, if these don’t address the issue then a different approach may be required (although once the above have been tried)
- Avoidance – time can heal so perhaps ignoring it may diffuse the conflict.
- Confrontation – the conflict may need some airtime in a safe place so that the disagreement can be verbalised.
- Third-party intervention – as a last resort, mediation by someone who is independent and skilled may be required.