We all think differently. This diversity is what allows teams to make better decisions, come up with more creative solutions and bounce ideas off each other. At some point in the process, however, you are bound to have a difference of opinion with one or more of your coworkers. This can lead to uncomfortable feelings and conversations, and sometimes even create a lack of balance on a team. But it’s important to remember that while conflict cannot be avoided, it is also not always a bad thing. In fact, conflict can be extremely productive.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which resolved conflict can be beneficial in a workplace.
1. Better work environment
Conflict can really put a damper on the office mood. Even if you are not the one battling it out, the fact that your coworkers are not getting along can be really stressful. This means that when there is an issue on the team, it is best to resolve it, rather than let it weigh down on everyone. While many people are able to face conflict themselves, a good leader will be able to help their team through these tough situations. Learn how to read your team, understand all sides of the argument and create a favorable space to improve the work environment.
2. Learning from others
By discussing, and even arguing, you can get a variety of perspectives. This can help team members to learn a new way of thinking, approaching a problem or resolving an issue. But when there is a conflict and it is avoided, it is much harder to reach this level of conversation. Remember that conflict doesn’t have to mean shouting at one another. It simply means that there is a difference of opinion and it needs to be resolved. Those in leadership positions can also employ conflict as a way for hands-on-learning. If the issue at hand is not vital for the organization, it can be helpful to let conflict result in decisions that may not be perfect. This way, everyone on the team can learn from mistakes first-hand, which can be very helpful to future processes.
3. Healthier work relationships
Have you ever dreaded going to work because you had to see people that you didn’t get along with? Or maybe you’ve had an experience where your work is really interesting, but you just don’t seem to hit it off with the team. There may be different reasons for this – sometimes it is culture, often it can be the result of clashing personalities, but it can also be due to unresolved conflict among coworkers. While facing conflict head-on may not always be the best solution, addressing it in some way is essential to maintaining healthy work relationships. After all, it’s unpleasant to have a constant grudge! On the other hand, you can get to know your coworkers and their perspectives better when you work through a conflict.
4. Streamlined processes
No two people are the same and in a strong team, you are bound to have more than a few opinions. But as teams become closer and get to know each other, they start working out the kinks in their work relationships. This will usually at some point involve a difference in opinion and can even go as far as conflict. But the process of resolving conflict will mean that the team now has taken steps to work through it. The next time an issue or a conflict arises, they are already prepared to deal with it – knowing how everyone works and what makes who tick. By continuously addressing conflict, teams will get better at it and the process of decision-making is likely to become more streamlined.
5. More sources of opinion
If you look at why conflicts arise, it is usually because there are people with different opinions who feel strongly about them. This is actually a good thing! That means your team is thinking, creating and innovating – there just needs to be fruitful discussion on what is the best for the organization and your overall mission. But resolving conflict means going through the different opinions and understanding what they are. This created an array of sources to draw from when making decisions. Additionally, in a team where there is a culture of healthy conflict resolutions, collaborators will not be afraid to share their opinion, making processes more innovative and creative.
Remember, conflict is inevitable. But the impact of conflict is manageable. When there is healthy conflict resolution at work it can bring about positive results and make your team and your organization stronger.
To learn more about conflict and your own conflict style, click HERE.