By: Shawna Simcik
While you can try to avoid conflict – just like taxes, conflict in the workplace is inevitable. With respect to productivity, consider the amount of time that is spent on disagreements, arguments or avoidance of conversations. Conflict is unavoidable , but its consequences don’t have to be negative. In fact, well known author Patrick Lencioni, noted that there is a very high cost to avoiding conflict in the workplace. Companies who retreat from confrontation tend to postpone hard strategic decisions and allow problems to fester – which could cost an organization millions, if not billions of dollars.
Developing effective conflict resolution skills is an essential component of leadership. The best leaders know this and manage conflict versus avoid it or allow conflict to manage them. Handled well, healthy conflict can strengthen communication, spark new ideas and generate new levels of performance. Handled poorly, however, workplace conflict can damage important relationships and drag down efficiency. In fact, many agree that the ability to manage conflicts can make or break a career.
So, what creates conflict in the workplace? Opposing positions, competitive attitudes, power struggles, ego, pride, jealousy, performance discrepancies, compensation issues, just someone having a bad day – you name it. While the answer to the previous question would appear to lead to the conclusion that just about anything and everything creates conflict, the reality is that the root of most conflict is either born out of poor communication, a misinterpretation of perception versus reality or the inability to control one’s emotions.
To learn more about this topic and if you are sick and tired of conflict in the workplace, join us on March 29th for a complimentary webinar, “When People Clash in the Workplace: Becoming Conflict Competent” 10am Mountain | 12pm Eastern. In this free, 60-minute webinar, we will discuss building your “conflict competence” by understanding the choices you make are either constructive or destructive, the cost of conflict, causes and communication styles that affect conflict.
Blog written by Shawna Simcik and experts from Kathy Cooperman, ICC, Senior Leadership Coach & Leadership Consultant blog, originally posted April 15, 2014 at kathycooperman.com