Whether you are a team player, a manager, or an employee, we all know people don’t agree on everything all the time. According to Better Workplaces Better World, workplace conflict is inevitable when employees of various backgrounds and different work styles are brought together in a business. Conflict can—and should—be managed and resolved.
Many of us want to avoid conflict at all cost because they think feelings get hurt and/or relationships will get destroyed. In this article, I will explain why conflict can be good and when it results in negativity.
Bauer, T. and Erdogan, B. (2015) about healthy debates:
Many people think that conflict is inherently bad – that it undermines goals or shows that a group or meeting is not running smoothly. In fact, if there is no conflict, it may mean that people are silencing themselves and withholding their opinions. The reality is that within meaningful group discussions there are usually varying opinions about the best course of action. If people are suppressing their opinions, the final result may not be the best result. During healthy debates, people point out difficulties or weaknesses in a proposed alternative and can work together to solve them. The key to keeping the disagreement healthy is to keep the discussion focused on the task, not the personalities.
I have experienced culture differences in my diverse tennis team in America. We didn’t have the same views and believes, but we have to accept we are different. In order to grow, we should be open-minded and at least listen to others.
Different views can enhance teamwork. Like stated in my “10 tips for ambitious people”, I talked about how important your environment is. People who criticize in a good way are the right people. Only “yes-ma'am”/"yes-sir" are of no use to you. Your surroundings need to challenge you. As an entrepreneur you probably have many ideas. Not all of them can be good. If your environment really thinks everything is good, won't be good either. That’s why critical people you work with is good and doesn’t have to result in bad conflict.
When conflict gets out of hand is when we don’t communicate well with each other, don’t express ourselves, and/or take things personal. The moment you talk about your feelings, people tend to understand each other better and differences can get resolved. I feel like companies strive to a healthy working environment where employees feel welcomed and want to come back every single day. Let’s keep that momentum going and allow a safe environment to learn and grow.
What do you do when you are exposed to a conflict? Share your tips in the comment below!
Bauer, T. & Erdogan, B. (2015). Organizational Behavior. Boston Academic Publishing, Inc
SHRM. Managing Workplace Conflict. Retrieved from: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingworkplaceconflict.aspx