If any recruiter was asked about the work environment of their company, they would probably say that it is like one big family. However, even in the most amicable work spaces, there will be conflicts – people will always be able to find some place where they disagree with one or more coworkers about the way a project is handled, the correct course of action for a program or other mission-critical aspects of the workplace.
The word "conflict" sounds negative and it often is when it happens outside of work, but inside the workplace, it is not always a bad thing. Here are some of the pros and cons associated with conflicts:
Perhaps the biggest concern for leaders and executives is the toll a conflict can take on workplace morale. Every business understands that high morale is critical for productivity – a happy worker is a productive one. Negative emotions, however, may lead to poor performance. People cannot work effectively when they are upset or angry.
Conflicts can also be highly time-consuming and unproductive if not managed correctly. Petty arguments can be long-lasting sources of negative emotions, affecting an entire workplace for a long time afterward. This is why it is so important to bring conflicts to a prompt resolution.
Sometimes, a conflict may even result with one person quitting, which is never an ideal way of resolving a situation. As Small Business Chronicle noted, this is bad for a number of reasons – not only does it cost a substantial amount of money to hire new employees, that also often leaves conflicts unresolved.
A lot of good can come out of conflicts – disagreements can spur new ideas, add fresh angles to old policies and programs and in some cases even improve relationships between coworkers.
Think of it this way: Conflicts often arise because of an inherent weakness in a company, whether it is due to the way resources are allocated, unfairness between different departments or positions or just generally the way businesses go about doing their business.
"Rather than simply looking to end conflicts as they arrive, small business owners should determine why a conflict arises and search for ways to resolve it," explained Small Business Chronicle contributor Demand Media. After all, if conflicts are not resolved now, they will simply crop up again whenever that weakness arises.
Resolving conflicts successfully
Although conflicts may be a source of negative emotions, resolving a conflict successfully can be a huge boon for a company if it helps it eliminate the root of the problems and prevents disagreements from occurring in the future.
Business leaders should proactively take a role in conflict resolution. Granted, it is not easy to resolve every conflict and that is part of the reason some disagreements can last for months – no one wants to be the one who gets involved. If this is an issue, executives should look into conflict resolution training, which can help them deal with habitual disagreements and avoid getting trapped in unproductive relationships with coworkers.