Some of you may look forward to resolving conflicts at work, confident that a well-handled discussion with your colleague will do the trick. But many more of you probably don’t look forward to tackling situations of conflict and disagreement with your colleagues, and may even avoid trying to resolve conflicts altogether so little confidence do you have that a positive outcome will ensue from the dialogue. In my work as a coach, I have found that many clients eschew conflict, so painful is it for them to handle.
Some of you will be able to point to occasions when the results of a well handled disagreement or conflict were productive for you or your team. Iron does sharpen iron, and a resolved disagreement or conflict can bring about improved processes, innovations for customers, better dialogue between colleagues, enhanced products and services, and more productive and efficient ways of working.
But most of you will also be able to point to situations in which conflict and disagreement splintered your work groups, fractured relationships and resulted in a situation in which no effective resolution to the underlying issues could be found. Maybe certain issues in your team or workplace have never been resolved, and consequently there is unfinished business sitting between you and other people, circumstances which make some workplace meetings awkward, create discomfort, hinder productivity and reduce service levels.