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Conflict is not new. It has been with us since the beginning of our history. What is more? It will continue to be with us in the future. That is why we should better accustom to it and know how to turn each conflict into an opportunity.
Organizations that don’t have mechanisms to handle conflicts appropriately, they suffer the consequences of their negligence. These companies, rather than tapping into the opportunities conflict presents; they bleed daily because they haven’t acknowledged the importance of conflict, and also failed to deal with it smartly. This shouldn’t happen to your organization.
The million dollar question is “How can we turn conflicts into opportunities”? There is no one-size-fit-all suggestion. Conflicts differ from circumstance to circumstance, from organization to organization. And there are so many factors playing that it is unfair to prescribe blanket solutions to all conflicts.
One thing, however, is pretty clear. The lion share responsibility rests on the leadership. The latter should invest on conflict management. Here are some of the tasks you should engage with to play your share in managing conflict:
- Raise the awareness of your people. Don’t assume that everybody understands conflict. Most importantly, many people may not know how to prevent and manage conflict. As a leader, you should give some scenarios to explain to your people the nature of conflict that may occur in your organization. You may also need to arrange trainings, mentoring, and coaching to empower your people in managing conflict.
- Create mechanisms to prevent conflict. Conflicts could be averted before they cause serious damages. Conflict arises when things aren’t clear. If your mission, vision, values, programs, strategies, and so on aren’t clear to your people, chances are high that they may find themselves having conflicts of interest and priority.
- Once it happens, put in place channels to manage conflict. Here is where you turn each conflict into opportunity. Even if the previous two approaches may reduce and mitigate the prevalence of conflicts in your organization, it is impossible to completely avoid conflicts. You cannot create a conflict free organization. You should rather put in place channels to turn each conflict into an opportunity.
Let’s stop it here for now. We will continue to blog about this theme. We will cover topics like: Some general facts about conflict, Understanding your conflict modes, How to mitigate the impact of conflict, and so on.