Conflict occurs when there is both a perceived difference between the interests of two or more parties. Therefore, conflict is extremely common.
Many people avoid conflict, however, managed well, conflict can have positive consequences and create opportunities for change and collaboration. By talking through different ideas and opinions calmly and constructively, colleagues can come up with new ways of working and completing tasks those involved had not thought of individually. This can actually help to improve outcomes, streamline processes and even enhance relationships between colleagues.
However, if people involved in conflict react angrily, defensively or avoid the conflict, this can damage relationships between colleagues.
So, the difficulty with conflict is actually not that it occurs, but rather how it is handled.
Recognising conflict early and acting quickly can reduce the likelihood of problems escalating and become more complex, and provides an opportunity to solve problems co-operatively.
Read more in our tip sheet here.
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