Conflict is valuable in the workplace. In fact, it’s actually good for business.
You might not have thought of it as being positive but it can be when people use care with each other and stakeholders. They also have to put something like the BSC’s Fight Fair™ strategy in place.
I just had the opportunity to spend two days working with the staff of an Inc 5000 company on improving their communication. This is a high quality small business but staff members and the owner wanted to make sure they were dealing effectively with the internal and external conflicts that come up in every business.
The first thing I did was ask them to complete a survey to get their opinion of conflict. It was interesting to see that almost none of them thought of it as being positive. However in the work session, they got it and they saw it first hand as we worked through various scenarios that they deal with when working together or working with customers and other stakeholders.
Conflict’s Origin Suggests Its Potential Threat AND Value
Conflict comes from the word “conflictus” which means “striking together”. There are many times that objects striking together result in something good. A drumstick striking a drum makes music. A flint striking another piece of flint creates sparks and fire. A bell clapper striking a bell tells the time.
7 Ways Positive Conflict™ is Key to Business Success
The staff came to recognize the value of conflict when they experienced it without the potential of personal threat, insult, or put down. That’s “Positive Conflict” and it builds on itself. It happens in internal (within the organization) and external (with customers and other stakeholders) conflict situations. With Positive Conflict™:
- Ideas are more valuable and better because they are challenged.
- The challenge becomes a valuable learning tool for the individual to think and work more consciously.
- The group learns to trust one another because they have been through the conflict.
- The share experience gives everyone the opportunity for growth and makes for better teams.
- Those teams make better cross department allies since they know how to “fight fair”.
- Because they “fight fair” they have good feelings about themselves and others.
- Their sense of pride and accomplishment of improving ideas through positive conflict™ reduces the amount of negative or destructive conflict that occurs.
The next time you think conflict has no place in the workplace, think again. What would it be like if everyone always agreed to everything and then the company acted on that? Lots of businesses could irreparably harm themselves or others. Does your business encourage the right kind of conflict and the right way to manage it?
If you have conflict that’s negative, check out available resources at Conflict Resolution Network out of Australia. They have some good information.