Conflict is as inevitable in business as it is in personal life and pretty much any situation in which human beings come into contact. It is therefore vital that leaders and HR managers know how to manage and resolve conflict.
The important thing to keep in mind is that when conflict does emerge, it represents an opportunity for the individuals involved, as well as the team as a whole, to grow and learn. The worst thing to do is try to suppress or push it aside. To do so would be to squander this golden opportunity.
Your primary goal in conflict resolution is certainly to get the work on the go again. This is in fact the first benefit of good conflict management: it re-establishes productivity and sets the team’s eye back on the finish line. If work has broken down completely, then getting the conflict out of the way will set the conveyor belt spinning again, so to speak.
In effectively managing the conflict and not simply seeking to sweep it aside, you can actually increase your team’s commitment to the tasks at hand, leaving them more focused and amped than before. But aside from these most obvious outcomes, conflict management can also yield additional benefits. These arise from an approach to conflict that doesn’t simply seek to eliminate it but rather recognises and utilises its inherent perks.
Conflict can generate new insights, new understanding of the task and perhaps new solutions that nobody had considered before. But it can be difficult to mine these out of the seemingly impenetrable rock of personality clashes and squabbles. That requires deft and sensitive conflict resolution. If you seize the moment and navigate the rough seas cleverly, you can guide everybody’s vision right to the heart of the issue. There is always some deeper cause at the root of a clash and when this is confronted and neutralised, your team is sure to have a sharper view of what’s to be done, as well as a renewed commitment to doing it.
Conflict also presents your team with a chance to get to know each other better. There is no more common cause of disagreement than mere misunderstanding. By guiding your team through the root of the conflict, you can help to bring everybody together, get them to see each other’s points of view and build stronger working relationships.
Accepting the Inevitable
The key to successfully managing and resolving conflict is in learning to accept its inevitability. It is something to be worked out and through, not to be avoided or averted. Once you are comfortable in this knowledge, you may even come to the point of embracing conflict rather than seeing it as just an unpleasant side effect.
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