Coworker Conflict Can Be Good

If you work with people, then you have had to deal with conflict of some sort.  Conflict is neither good nor bad, it is just conflict.  It is how people handle the conflict that will determine if it leads to a positive or negative outcome.

Conflict is bound to happen at work.  We have our own ideas and personalities that play into our everyday encounters with our co-workers, and at times they may conflict. 

If you are the manager or business owner and an employee comes to you with a complaint about a coworker, it is important not to brush them off.  If it bothered them enough for them to come talk to you then they certainly deserve to be heard and the situation understood.

It is important if the situation is more than conflict and crosses certain lines of bullying or harassment, then it needs to be dealt with according to your State Employment Laws.

It is also just as important if the conflict does not fall into these categories that the employees be encouraged to work through their conflict together even if it means to agree to disagree and move forward.

There are advantages of conflict. Without it, nothing would change.  If you are dissatisfied with an employee’s progress, there will not be a chance to fix the issues and create a positive change unless you tell them.

Here are three advantages to conflict:

1. Conflict can help us grow.  We learn about what others like or do not like and we can develop different ways to do and look at situations.

2. Conflict makes life more interesting. How boring would life be if we all thought the same way?  When someone at work disagrees with you on how to do something or thinks they have a better way, that can be interesting.  When everyone in the group always agrees on everything, how much fun is that? (It is boring).

3. Conflict strengthens relationships.  Working through disagreements and coming out on the better side draws people closer.  Their respect for each other strengthens and they know they can withstand disagreements.  They also know that next time they have a conflict, they have history to draw on to get through the conflict easier.

Conflict is a natural part of working together as humans and working through conflict will make our relationships better.  By understanding this, conflict does not seem as bad as we always think it is.

We need to get in the mindset that when there is conflict, there are new opportunities to learn and grow from each other and the situation.  Wow, I feel better already just by labeling “conflict” as an “opportunity.”

How do you view conflict? And how do you deal with it in your workplace?

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