August 9

Conflict: Motivator or Distraction to Business Operations?


Conflict is defined as, “actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests”. The question here   is conflict good for your business? If it results in change that improves the business operations then yes it is. Too many companies try to remove the conflict form the organization. They encourage harmony between departments and encourage the thought process that people thinking that a non-conflicting environment results in greater productivity – but does it?

If conflict results from a difference in how one perceives a situation, then how can differing points of view be negative to productivity? As a manager that is always looking to improve business operations, wouldn’t you want to delve into both sides to why they differ so drastically? Perhaps one side of the conflict has some real merits. Perhaps both sides have merits making the conflict valid from both sides. There is a possibility that both are incorrect, causing potential operations concerns, and now is the opportunity to correct them both to the benefit of the company.

In some companies, if you speak out and question the “as is” you might be considered an outlaw, a trouble maker, an upstart. The people who question the status quo tend to see things from a different perspective. If you are an effective manager, you have to always consider multiple points of view including those who cause conflict.

Oftentimes, conflict can disguise frustration and not listening to it can be dangerous. Ignoring it can be fatal to a business. Frustration breeds contempt and negative feelings which actually reduces the overall productivity. If you think that a harmonious company is always a well-performing one– think again.

Encouraging conflict is a good idea. Having people feel free to express their differences in a non-judgmental environment promotes creativity and collaboration. Set ground rules for conflict resolution and promote open communication that will not penalize either party. The key points to effective conflict resolution are validation and a direct goal or intent for each expressed idea. Staff at all levels can have effective idea s that can improve business productivity; it is their distinct differences in perspective that offer a vital point of view.

Conflict is communication and emotion entangled within each other. Sift thru the emotion and identify the core reason for the conflict and in the end you will have people who are not afraid to speak up when they see something they may not agree with. Controlled and directed conflict resolution can not only improve your employee relations, but your business productivity as a whole.

What do you think? 


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