Why is Conflict Management so Important in the Workplace

Why is Conflict Management so Important in the Workplace - Elevate Corporate Training

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If you’ve got high performers in your workplace, you’re going to have conflict from time to time. You can harness these disagreements to have productive discussions that can lead to a positive conflict resolution or you can let them fester and ramp up the tension for everyone.

Unresolved conflict can lead to:

  • Stress for the participants (and others in the workplace)
  • Less than productive employees
  • Good employees may leave to escape the environment
  • Absenteeism and turnover

Positive conflict resolution can lead to:

  • Better workplace relationships
  • Goal achievement
  • Employee engagement and commitment
  • New ideas, insights, and solutions
  • Stronger teams

Handling conflict and developing strong conflict management strategies are critical for today’s C-level Executives.  A Stanford University study of CEOs rated conflict management skills as the highest priority for personal development.  More than 42 percent of CEOs said learning skills to negotiate conflicting agendas was at the top of their list.

The High Cost Of Managing Conflict

You might think you can’t put a price tag on a well-functioning workplace.  You can, however, estimate the cost of conflict management.  A study by a European business psychology firm estimates that 85% of employees at all levels of organisations experience conflict.  Dealing with that conflict costs businesses a combined $359 billion in paid hours.  That’s a mighty big price to pay for something that can be managed and harnessed in a more productive manner.

Employees and Executives often allow conflict to continue in the workplace hoping employees will work things out themselves.  Some hesitate to get involved because they fear confrontation.  The reality is that nobody likes confrontation.  However, letting these conflicts continue to build can only create more frustration and more damage.

Executives with strong conflict management skills know that dealing with frustrations quickly, openly, and compassionately can turn a negative into a positive.  It shows others in the workplace that you know what’s going on in your organisation and understand the pressures of the job.  It shows you are willing to work hard to keep your team functioning properly.  It shows you will deal head-on with problems and care about your employees.  Proper conflict resolution can open the door to effective communication.

How Do You Manage Conflict In A Team?

Conflict management training can help give Executives the skills to deal with problems that run the gamut from passive-aggressive behaviour to angry employees.  Some employees may need a gentle nudge, such as giving feedback, while others may need counselling or even disciplinary action to be held accountable when their behaviour negatively impacts their colleagues.

By demonstrating the proper way to handle conflict in a professional and respectful manner, Executives will also show staff members how to navigate disagreements on their own.  By learning conflict management skills, Executives can empower their teams to resolve their own problems efficiently.

When employees learn to handle tension and conflict on their own, they are less likely to let things build or run to management to solve every minor disagreement. This allows everyone to work more efficiently.

Conflict does not need to a destructive force.  Handling properly, it can create strong bonds among team members.  Ignoring conflict can lower morale not just for employees embroiled in the conflict but for other team members who feel they have to tread lightly or pick sides.  Effectively handling conflict decreases the overall tension and makes for a more pleasant and collegial working environment.

Effects Of Conflict Management Planning

Very few people come to work wanting to do a poor job.  Almost everybody wants to do the right thing and gives an honest effort.  Conflict can get in the way but applying conflict resolution skills can help encourage team members to move past their emotions and make objective decisions.

Conflict management strategies can help team members to understand and appreciate the differences in employees and realise how those differences can be valuable in the workplace.  The effects of having a conflict management plan include better communication in the workplace, better workplace harmony, and stronger workplace relationships.

Coaching and Conflict Management

Learning good conflict management strategies and skills for effective communication in the workplace are just two facets Executives need to master.  Executive Coaching can help leaders to grow their own skill sets and, in turn, grow their business.

As seen above there is a high cost to any business, through lost revenue, workplace inefficiency and high staff turnover, if conflict goes on unresolved.  And it is not a part of the job anyone normally relishes. People in general don’t love conflict, and feel uncomfortable confronting it.

But there are a number of principles that can be easily taught and when implemented by an executive or manager can help alleviate the anxiety that often surrounds conflict. With a smoother process in place to resolve conflict and keep teams running smoother for longer bottom lines increase and staff contentment levels go through the roof.

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