Conflict occurs when there is a difference of interests or opinions between two parties. People often perceive conflict as negative however, when handled well conflict can be an opportunity to improve workplace outcomes, strengthen relationships, and boost creativity.
When handled poorly or left unresolved however, research has found that conflict can lead to lower levels of workplace morale, productivity, sales, cooperation and collaboration, higher staff turnover and incurs a significant cost each year.
Conflict is so common and prevalent in the workplace, that research from Queensland Government has found that:
The ability to recognize, understand and resolve conflict effectively is an important skill in the workplace and particularly important among workplace leaders.
Therefore, this month we are focusing on how to manage conflict effectively in the workplace.
In order to understand the conflict, we first must analyse the source of the conflict to gain perspective.
Four main types of conflict in the workplace:
In addition, other factors that influence conflict include:
Once you understand your tendencies towards handling conflict as well as your counterpart’s tendencies – you can then learn how to effectively manage this conflict. For example, if you’re both avoiders, one of you will need to take the lead. However, if you are both seekers, you will need to focus on taking breaks to de-escalate the emotions in the conflict.
Here are steps to follow to help aid this decision:
If you do decide to try a collaborative, problem solving approach to resolving your conflict, read our top 10 conflict resolution tips:
Conflict, when left unresolved, can be detrimental at work to our happiness, work performance, and wellbeing. However, if managed effectively it can bring with it increased creativity, leadership opportunities, and stronger relationships. So why not use some of these tips in your workplace and see what a difference effective conflict resolution can make to you and others.
Sometimes it can be difficult to resolve conflict yourself. Where you are unable to resolve conflict yourself you can: