What is Conflict?

Posted On: January 13, 2016 by: Doug Lundrigan

Closeup image of two businesswoman's fists on a wood tableConflict is an inevitable result of social interaction in our everyday lives.

It occurs because we engage in situations and circumstances with people who have different goals, values and backgrounds.

In every work place conflict is present to varying degrees. We define conflict as a “strong disagreement between people, groups, etc., that often results in anger and arguments.” When management teams know how to resolve conflict effectively, they save time by turning potentially destructive situations into positive opportunities for growth and development.

Conflict can be split into two categories, disruptive conflict and constructive conflict. Disruptive conflict may result in unhealthy competition, defensive communication, personal attacks and a closed work environment, all of which hinder productivity. On the other hand, constructive conflict results in cooperation, collective focus, open work environments and supportive communication.

It is not possible for two or more people to work together and always agree. Conflict can, at times, be necessary and beneficial, and help foster team growth. Constructive conflict can help make you more focused on the work at hand. Disruptive conflict can make you resistant and defensive.

managing-conflictOne way to reduce discomfort with conflict or disagreement is to identify and use common steps to manage conflict in a positive way. Effectively dealing with conflict is one of the most difficult aspects of being in a leadership position. When faced with conflict, we often react without realizing that we have constructive, healthy choices available to us, and we unconsciously start pushing back.

Well-managed conflict can spark creativity and challenge employees to think about what they are doing and how they might improve methods and procedures.

Come back next week to learn about: The Five Management Conflict Styles!

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