Conflict: An Opportunity Knocking?

disagreementNot many of us, I would guess, look at the existence of conflict in our lives as an opportunity for much of anything other than honing our avoidance skills.

Indeed, a study conducted in 2008 by CPP, Inc., publisher of the Myers-Briggs and Thomas Kilmann Confict Instrument, quantified the negative consequences of conflict in the workplace:

  • US employees spend 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict – this leads to even more time in gossip, protecting turf and recruiting people to sides – all unproductive activities!
  • 25% of employees said that conflict leads to sickness
  • 10% said workplace conflict leads to project failure
  • Employee turnover is an absolute and costly result of workplace conflict. Replacing employees costs 150 to 200 percent more than that of employee’s salary and benefits. That means losing even a mid-level employee making $30,000 a year could cost your company $70,000 or more to replace.

Much of this cost is not due to the existence of conflict itself, but to the effects of unresolved conflict. Many leaders, in both their professional and personal lives, prefer to ignore the presence of conflict and hope it will go away.  Mark de Rond, in an article in Harvard Business Review in July 2012 likened this strategy to managing by cappucino:  “Every time conflict rears its ugly head, people break for coffee, presumably in the hope that it will help restore harmony.”

So maybe we can agree that avoiding conflict only increases its toxicity–so don’t do that.  And we can acknowledge, as de Rond does, that conflict is a fact of life, especially in groups of highly competent and engaged people.   But is there actually anything good to be said about conflict?

Finding the opportunities in conflict situations is the topic of the next Reid Group teleseminar:  10 Steps to Transform Conflicts into Opportunities for Growth.

December 10, 2014
5pm ET / 4pm CT / 3pm MT / 2pm PT

During this teleseminar, participants will be provided a “best practice” top ten list of creative and constructive conflict management techniques. In addition, the session will also offer tips for practical ways to build on the momentum of the call through specific actions.

To register for this teleseminar, simply click here.  Materials and resource information to be used on the call will be sent to all registrants.

Space is limited, so register now for the teleseminar and explore the opportunities to be found in conflict beyond just the chance to get great coffee.