Conflict is not generally something we tend to rush toward. Rarely do we seek it out. Still, in working with individuals in virtually any type of organization, what is often expressed is unhappiness with their department, boss, co-workers or the whole company. And in exploring the things that underlie the negative feelings it is often related to situations that we don’t like or perhaps don’t agree with and yet, do not want to broach it for fear of creating conflict … one that we believe might even cost us our job.
How we confront conflict … or don’t … plays a big part in the outcome being positive or negative. Some of the negatives that are the result of conflict avoidance include:
- Creating inner turmoil within ourselves. We think we can sweep and have swept it aside however it becomes akin to sweeping the dirt under the carpet and sooner or later we will trip over it. Not good!
- Impacting workplace morale. With morale playing such a big part in the productivity within an organization, ignored conflict impacts the overall attitudes and morale of those involved and the results and goals intended to be achieved
- Consuming a disproportionate amount of time. Being that time is money using it to deal with the fallout of unaddressed conflicts can easily throw any project, department or company far off of their intended and desired goals.
- Creating stressful work relationships. Because so much of our work is often relianton others doing their portion successfully, when unaddressed conflicts are allowed to remain and fester, the resulting stress brings with it no positives.Regardless of it being or seeming difficult to address perceived conflict, there are clear-cut advantages that make pushing through the discomfort a worthwhile consideration. These include:
- Disagreements with approaches or ideas can result in new and better ones. If you find yourself at odds with some proposed direction or method, whose to say your thoughts wrong? Being willing to present your perspective could, in fact, result in a better way. Left unsaid, you are depriving the others involved of what may well be the best.
- A better form of problem solving. Addressing a conflict does solve problems when handled in the right way (see below).
- Identification happens earlier and thus do the resolutions. Working in a business environment in which addressing conflicts is the norm means that they will be resolved sooner enabling forward movement in a positive way.
- Productivity increases. Being that this is a key foundation of success and profitability is also an important reason to willingly confront conflicts.
There is a real key to successfully confronting and discussing a situation about which you
feel strongly … that is if you want to be listened to and understood. It’s simple … focus on the issue and not the person. To do otherwise is to bring about a halt to the conversation and the listening that is required for you to express yourself and be heard. Hopefully we can begin to view what we may have seen as a conflict in the past to the real opportunity it represents for ourselves, our job and ultimately to our happiness and satisfaction.