Working on how to deal with conflict constructively at work is one way to rapidly improve the performance of your team and fast-track the development of your people. But this is not always easy, and the way to achieve it is not always obvious.
A good place to start is reframing what ‘conflict’ means and why it occurs, as this can remove some of the barriers and fears that people commonly hold when thinking about conflict in their team. Conflicts arise when the concerns, desires, or ideas of one person differ from those of another person, and it generally occurs when two or more people at work care enough about an issue to hold opposing views. In other words, conflict guides you to where the issues that really matter are. People generally don’t enter into conflict over things that do not matter to them. Equiping your team with ways to constructively resolve issues causing conflict helps clarify roles, responsibilities and expectations, builds capability and capacity in the team to manage issues effectively, and can improve engagement in the team by progressing the issues that really matter. Thinking about conflict in this way makes dealing with it a much more positive and urgent thing to do, and makes avoiding conflict seem even more costly.
At The Effective People Group we help teams develop ways to effectively handle conflict, and also work with teams on how to work constructively with approaches to conflict in other individuals and teams that are different to their own.
Have you got any stories to share of where dealing with conflict at work has helped accelerate performance in your team? Post a comment below to share your story.