Most of us do not enjoy conflict. The idea that we would spend time and money to focus on how we manage and engage with conflict might seem like unrealistic. It is hard to find time and resource for everything we want to do, much less talking about things we’d rather avoid.
But you could be missing an opportunity to save time, money and stress. I believe that improving the way that we approach and engage in issues of conflict with our co-workers should be a key focus of your development in 2023. Here are 8 reasons why…
1. You’ll save stress
Conflict can be stressful, scary, daunting, overwhelming and miserable. It doesn’t necessarily have to feel like that though. It is possible to enhance or develop the skills to engage with conflict more constructively, with less stress as a result.
2. You’ll get better results
Conflicts left to fester generally get harder to resolve. People may feel hurt, angry and want to stick to their guns, and/or punish the other party. If you can flush out the issues sooner, the more chance you have to find a resolution that works for all.
3. You’ll save time
The longer tensions are left unaddressed, the more damage they can do. This affects those in the conflict themselves. But the effects are also felt by those around them in the wider team – and the wider organisation.
4. You won’t have to stay trapped in the past
People stuck in conflict can really struggle to draw a line under those past hurts. Getting issues resolved means that the parties can focus on what’s going on now and where they want to get to in the future.
5. You’ll have a degree of control over what happens regarding solutions
If we can get issues of tension resolved directly, it keeps us in control of what is going to happen next. When we pass responsibility for resolving a situation to another person – manager or HR – we have sacrificed the control over how the issues are resolved.
6. You’ll have the opportunity to achieve a confidential resolution to the issue
Once an issue has been referred to others, it is no longer a private matter. It can be embarrassing to explain the details to another person. If we can resolve issues directly with the other person involved, we can keep it confidential.
7. You won’t be ‘judged’ by an external authority
Once a dispute has been referred to someone else for resolution, it’s almost inevitable that there will be a degree of judgement. We can spare ourselves this by addressing the issues directly ourselves.
8. Your solutions are likely to last longer than those imposed on you
When we identify the issues that need to be addressed and generate our solutions, they tend prompt a much greater degree of ownership than those imposed on us by others.