Conflict in the workplace has the potential to develop a creative edge which encourages the development of different ideas, growth and organisational development.
However there is also the potential for explosive negativity when conflict is not dealt with well. This can sabotage relationships, team dynamics, and productivity, causing personal distress and a negative workplace culture.
It can result in intimidating behaviours and accusations of bullying when there is a power imbalance. It can produce a loss of productivity and people capability when skilled staff choose to leave.
Skills to deal with conflict effectively may involve:
- A better understanding of the diversity of personality types, including insight into one’s own and the impact of different personality types in the workplace
- Understanding of the concept of emotional intelligence, and an assessment of EI competence and areas for development
- Better communication skills, which allow differences to be expressed openly without inviting defensive responses, and enable issues to be worked through
- Effective organisational systems and leadership strategies which allow for a safe expression of differences in a supportive environment
- A better understanding of cross cultural issues and the development of cross-cultural sensitivity and responsiveness
On-going coaching and mentoring in the implementation of new strategies will assist new behaviours to become embedded in the organisational culture. Early intervention is the key: hoping that a situation will go away is inviting escalation.