Effectively Addressing Conflict in the Workplace

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Leadership and conflict go hand-in-hand. If you cannot address conflict in a healthy, productive fashion then you should not be in a leadership role. While you can try and avoid conflict, which is a bad idea, you cannot escape conflict because conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. The ability to recognize conflict, understand the nature of conflict, and to be able to bring swift and fair resolution to conflict will serve you well as a leader, but the inability to do so may be your downfall. Many savvy business professionals have self-destructed their careers because they refused to engage in conflict. Denying that any conflicts exist and hoping that it will pass you by is not the most effective methodology for problem solving. Conflict rarely resolves itself; in fact, conflict normally escalates if not dealt with proactively and properly. It is not at all uncommon to see what might not have been an issue manifest itself into a big problem if not resolved early on. Developing effective conflict resolution skill sets are an essential component of building a sustainable business model. Unresolved conflict often results in a loss of productivity, stifles creativity, and creates barriers to cooperation. Perhaps most importantly for leaders, the ability to properly resolve conflict equals good employee retention. Leaders who don’t deal with conflict will eventually watch their good talent walk out the door in search of a healthier and safer work environment. Poor leadership always leads to conflicts, but even the best leaders can’t prevent conflicts from occurring. While conflict is a normal part of any social and organizational setting, the challenge of conflict lies in how one chooses to deal with it. Concealed, avoided or otherwise ignored, conflict will likely fester only to grow into resentment, create withdrawal or cause fighting within an organization. So, what creates conflict in the workplace? Opposing positions, competitive tensions, power struggles,...
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