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Navigating Conflict: A Roadmap to Organizational Success

It is not unusual for JackieO and I to have conflict when going for walks.  When walking together, her stubborn streak leads her to stop in the middle of the path when she doesn’t want to walk anymore.  Our differences in walking style became a daily stressor for me. Much like in the workplace, differences can lead to conflict.

Is conflict impacting your workplace? A one million dollar setback can serve as a wake-up call and cause a few heads to roll in almost any business. A client recently suffered such a loss when two project teams engaged in repetitive conflicts, causing them to miss crucial benchmarks and ultimately lose a lucrative contract due to blame and miscommunication. 

A costly lesson indeed.

Recognizing the profound impact of conflict in the workplace, national surveys reveal that managers spend a significant portion of their work week navigating these treacherous waters. The average manager and leader spend nearly a month each year managing workplace conflict. That is a substantial drain on resources and peoples energies. 

Research pinpoints personality clashes as the primary culprit, contributing to an annual business cost exceeding a staggering $359 billion.

Delving deeper, beneath the surface of most conflict lies a communication breakdown. Unproductive conflict or avoiding addressing issues leads to an astonishing waste of time. The question echoes loudly:  What is conflict costing your organization?

I have discovered that conflict can be harnessed as a tool, a barometer measuring organizational health. It serves as an indicator, pointing towards areas that demand attention for sustained growth. The key to unlocking this potential lies in understanding communication styles and their impact on the team.

By viewing conflict as a tool and embracing it, a company can cultivate a culture marked by trust, integrity, and camaraderie. It’s not about eliminating conflict. Rather, it’s about transforming conflict into a positive force that propels the team forward. 

Organizations can turn conflicts into catalysts for positive energy by understanding one’s conflict style and fostering a common language around productive conflict behavior. The result is a happier workplace, improved communication, and enhanced profits—a testament to the transformative power of productive conflict.

JackieO’s  trainer suggested that I purchase a dog stroller because she would never be able to walk distances.  I was told that her sensitivity to noise and motor deficits prevented her from being successful on her own. Instead of buying a stroller, I decided that we needed baby steps to be successful. I first practiced short walks, picked her up when she was scared by noises and reassured her. Then I learned that her favorite time to walk was in the morning.  I tested the waters starting with 2 blocks, three blocks and every day going a little bit further.  This week she walked  1.5 miles and was actually leading the way.  The conflict was resolved by identifying her needs and adapting to her best time to walk.  I kept the faith, stayed optimistic that anything is possible with the right attitude and training.  

I invite you to reflect and adjust your approach to your team members to meet them where they are and validate them. Think about what is possible in your workplace with the right mindset and training! TEAM Performance can help you turn conflict into positive energy and help everyone bring out the best in each other.

How Do We Play Nice in the Sandbox?

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