The word conflict may bring to mind images of aggression and bitterness but in the workplace scenario, it can be of great use as a little bit of argument can dispel indolence and stagnancy.
The word conflict has a negative connotation attached to it and most people steer clear of creating situations that could lead to conflict. This is, however, not necessarily true. Conflict, especially in business discussions is an indication of involvement and interaction both of which lead to group cohesion and productivity. Omnitech has a special conflict Resolution Team. Senior VP, commercial and HR, Omnitech Info solutions Ltd tells more. It is basically a forum consisting of sales delivery and commercial representatives incorporated with an intention to resolve all customer related issues jointly with minimal escalations to top management. This team is empowered to take business oriented decisions in favor of the customer as well as Omnitech.
The advantages of conflict are many, but they are manifested only if conflict is controlled and restricted to an optimum level. Conflict is often imperative as it helps raise and address problems, energizes work, motivates employees to participate helps people learn ways to recognize and benefit from their differences and improves overall efficiency. It is when conflict is poorly managed that it is a problem. Conflict is a problem when it hampers productivity lowers morale causes more and continued conflicts and inappropriate behavior. Conflict which is purely related to the topic in and is good however, conflict which is a result of personality clashes is not really healthy or one which is not objective and in consideration of the facts.
Elaborating further on the two extremes of high and low conflict: Low conflict indicates minimal interaction, which in turn, means that the employee’s stand is neutral – not really a good place to be in as this indicates a basic lack of interest in the overall decision making process. High conflict on the other hand is an extreme which can create chaos undermine individual and sometimes strain lines of authority. High conflict also indicates a lack of clarity and this is a situation which should be avoided. Thus, while it is clear that too less or too much conflict can have its complications there is definitely no doubt that a certain level of conflict is required for the overall health of the decision making process.
Conflicts are an inevitable part of work life. They arise due to poor communication of management decisions/policies, insufficient resources, role/job clashes, etc. Conflicts hinder productivity and affect confidence levels of the people involved. But if handled effectively, they can aid in raising and addressing problems, help sort out issues and motivate employees to recognize and benefit from their differences.
Conflicts can be of various types: intra-individual, interpersonal, group or even inter-organizational. Therefore, conflict resolution skills are essential since choosing the appropriate technique to solve/prevent disagreements is half the battle won.
Conflicts can be resolved by discussing the causes, learning the facts and settling them by applying rules, regulations and policies. Managers can play a key role in minimizing dissonance at work by regularly reviewing job descriptions, building a rapport with subordinates, maintaining reports on issues and accomplishments, effective planning and ensuring that employees are trained appropriately.
It takes some creativity to use conflict positively. An open work culture where hierarchy is not the trigger for decision making and enforcing becomes a conducive set up for healthy conflict, as in such an atmosphere employees open up and put forth their ideas which can bring creativity to the discussion and throw up some surprising finds which might have otherwise been missed.