Conflict is usually deemed as a bad thing within your business, however it can provide value if managed well.
Managers deal with conflict, ambiguity and at times uncertainty, on a daily basis. These situations can have a negative connotation however having capable people who can disagree, respectfully challenge the status quo and feel safe in doing that can assist your business in enabling a stronger decision-making process.
Conflict can have several definitions depending on a range of circumstances. One such definition within the Oxford Dictionary describing “A serious incompatibility between two or more opinions, principles, or interests”, is relevant for this article.
While business owners and leaders will aspire to have a cohesive and functional team and the perception of that is deemed as positive (and in most cases will be positive), at times having the courage to enter into a potential conflict and provide an opinion or principle that may be in disagreement with a colleague or manager, enables a couple of valuable outcomes:
1. Your opinion may assist in challenging a strategy, a decision, a process or system within the business that may ultimately provide more value to the business in the long run. Having the debate (even if you are unsuccessful) allows the business to make the best possible decision, implement the best possible process or action the best possible strategic initiative. Not voicing that opinion and avoiding the potential conflict means the business will potentially not give critical thought to their decision making, solely due to the lack of challenge
2. You may be fighting your corner to ensure your part of the business can achieve its desired objectives. Not engaging in a potential conflict can lead to your area of the business missing out on opportunities to improve, meet targets and perform but engaging in that conflict means you will have maximised your team’s ability to perform, improve and be engaged
We all generally see conflict as being negative however if managed well, allowing the debate, a different opinion or a passionate defence can stimulate a group’s thinking and provide for stronger, more mature relationships. A well thought through decision making process ultimately provides greater value and better outcomes for your business.
Don’t be afraid of conflict – it’s going to happen at times whether you like it or not so why not try and manage it well to gain greater value and engagement from your team!
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