Don’t be. The world’s best companies thrive on fostering a climate where conflict is expected, even encouraged. Why? Because conflict, when managed well, opens up new possibilities for your people and your organization. So, whether you have 10 or 1000 employees, managing conflict is a necessary task for your leadership team.
Conflict in the workplace is usually is one of three types: Task, Emotional and Process:
Task conflict happens when your team gathers together to agree upon a new procedure and your “lively discussion” results in an improved, more efficient way of doing things – therefore, conflict (well-managed) can create the possibility to achieve positive results in your organization.
Emotional conflict is all about individuals, right? Sometimes. But when conflict continues to manifest in different ways, it may be a sign that something is amiss and needs a second look. Work flow, commitment and overall work satisfaction all deteriorate when interpersonal or inter-group conflict is not acknowledged and addressed.
Process conflict is about getting the work done but disagreeing on how the tasks should be performed. Astute leaders recognize process conflict as it manifests among team members and, when properly equipped, deal with it proactively.
What to do?
First, remember that all organizations experience conflict at different times – encourage your people to work through conflict by engaging in authentic communication, compromise and moving forward with the goal(s) of the task or project in mind.
If organizational change is on the agenda, without conflict, chances of meaningful change are slim. Change is stressful- regardless of how one views it. This is the time to encourage your people to be honest about their concerns and ideas in order to arrive at the very best solutions for your organization.
Lastly, when two associates just don’t get along…equip your leadership team to address conflict with confidence as part of their professional development plan.