Managers spend between 40% and 90% of their time dealing with conflict. With that in mind, it makes sense to get the most out of such a time consuming activity.
Leadership Freak readers indicate that conflict can serve a good purpose. Doc wisely observes, “Do we really need to ‘resolve’ conflict? From conflicts and discomfort comes the clear need to change, make progress, and grow.” (You make conflict worse when you …) He and others made me think about the good side of conflict.
Five good things about conflict
#1. Conflict causes pain.
Many observe that we don’t change until the pain of clinging to the present seems worse than the pain of changing.
When conflict motivates self-reflection and change, it’s a good thing.
#2. Conflict pushes against inertia.
Individuals and organizations usually tend to stagnate.
Conflict is a wake-up call that the status quo isn’t working.
#3. Conflict may end negative relationship-cycles.
Conflict motivates us to enhance our people skills. When I see a pattern of conflict in my own relationships or those around me, it’s time to address counter-productive relationship patterns.
#4. Working to solve conflict encourages creativity and innovation.
Innovation is the potential of conflict.
#5. Conflict challenges teams to refresh team dynamics.
Without conflict teams may drift into mediocrity.
#1. Confidence in ourselves and others helps relieve some of the stress conflict causes. Believe you can find a solution.
#2. Focusing on organizational or personal mission and vision helps explain, direct and give meaning to conflict.
What’s good about conflict?
This post is a revised version of a article I published ten years ago. You can see the original here: You Might Not Like it but There are 5 Good Things About Conflict