If you think that you’re building stronger relationships and a peaceful environment by avoiding conflict, you’re wrong.
It is no surprise that many leaders want to avoid conflict; after all, undesirable effects could include wasting time and a deterioration of relationships. Nevertheless, the most innovative solutions often arise when you see conflict as a business opportunity. It can also be a powerful tool for business growth and a career advancement trigger for everyone involved. It’s important to recognize that conflict:
– Is a normal component of team building.
– Can contribute to a deeper understanding of others.
– Can help individuals express their true thoughts.
– Provides an opportunity to generate new ideas, encourages creativity, and improves communication skills. As we accept it as part of our everyday life, we develop better skills for handling workplace conflict.
Leadership and conflict go hand in hand
Leaders must stop seeing conflict as a bad thing. While it is sometimes uncomfortable, conflict provides opportunities that can lead to constructive and valuable outcomes. Different points of view, working methods, leadership styles, and proposed strategies are normal. You can’t always agree on everything, but the organization must not become a battlefield.
A leader is responsible for building the team, leading it to fulfill its goals, and ensuring conflict is positively resolved. Today’s work environment demands that leaders develop conflict resolution skills.
What can you do?
Here are a few tips:
- Act promptly. Don’t let a small issue or a simple misunderstanding snowball.
- Respect differences. Workplaces are becoming more diverse – generationally and culturally, therefore it is essential to welcome differing points of view, instead of pulling rank or being rigid.
- Set SMART goals. Focus on goals in which all team members win. Make it possible for everyone to know what to expect from others.
- Demonstrate trust and honesty. Those who perceive that you are honest and care for them are more likely to engage in conflict and contribute to solutions.
- Provide training. Give your employees the opportunity to grow and improve their communication and problem-solving skills. A leadership development program will help your managers to deal effectively with conflict.
If you detect that tension and negative behaviours are affecting your organization’s productivity and work environment, take action. It will help you to see conflict as a business opportunity.
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