By Michelle Bonterre
Michelle Bonterre is the Vice President of Marketing at AchieveGlobal and a new contributor to the blog. Michelle has 18 years of experience in business-to-business marketing and new product development. She has led hundreds of research initiatives that have shaped effective learning solutions for workforces around the world proven to solve business issues. See her full bio here.
Of course, this does not mean that we should strive to create conflict that is difficult to resolve. Paine, in his wisdom, recognized that when the stakes are high, conflict can seem severe. Working through conflict means recognizing that the parties involved can contribute to discovering the solution. It’s also widely recognized that working through conflict can present opportunities for change and even lead to unexpected innovation.
Each month, AchieveGlobal hosts an online poll through our eNewsletter, Achieve. In September, our survey asked, “How does your team resolve conflict?”
Nearly half of those who participated in the poll said that their teams resolve conflict by providing direct feedback and working toward joint solutions. That’s great news, but more than a quarter of those polled said they try to find ways to avoid conflict. It’s also worth noting that 2% of participants in our survey said that their team members are openly aggressive and criticize in unproductive ways.
Research shows that the more coworkers have to depend upon each other to achieve results under pressure, the higher the instance of conflict. That means, in highly-collaborative environments, conflict may even seem like the norm.
We also recognize that if conflicts are mishandled, work relationships can be damaged and low energy and esteem can result.
The right way to manage conflict can vary greatly depending on the context of the organizational culture and what’s at stake. But what must be recognized is that it’s unrealistic to think that conflict can be avoided entirely. It’s also true that conflict won’t go away if ignored.
So what can we do?
Understand that conflict is par for the course, since our work in organizations is inherently collaborative. We should also have in place strategies for dealing with conflict so that it becomes a productive, rather than destructive force within our work environment.
To subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Achieve and participate in our regular polls, visit http://www.achieveglobal.com/research-and-resources/enewsletters.aspx