Conflict is synonym of: battle, clash, collision, combat, competition, contention, contest, fracas, fray, rivalry, struggle, war. From a business perspective, is defined by Huczynski & Buchanan (2010), as a disagreement through which the parties involved perceive a threat to their needs, interests or concerns.
What is the concept YOU would associate conflict with?
Most of us, when hear the word conflict, associate it with negative images. Traditionally, in the business world, is seen as bad for organisations and represents behaviour that should be controlled or repressed. Even more, Mullins (2006) affirms that it may cause emotional and physical stress to people involved in conflicting situations. However, most of the time, people respond to the perceived threat, rather than to the true threat.
Consider a scenario in which a company releases a new product on the market. The Financial Director and the Creative Director will have totally different ideas regarding the launch. The first one will see it in terms of money, profit, investment, while the second will consider it as an opportunity to be innovative and create a successful campaign. In this case, the difference in perception of what success is leads to conflict.
In these situations, it is necessary to think out of the box and out of your vision. This can act as an agent for evolution and improve the organisation’s strategy. It will also help to enlarge your horizons.
Here are some tips that will help you seeing conflict as a constructing force:
- Take responsibility for resolving the problem
- Agree to be open and honest
- Make the others feel that they would have their saying and you will hear them
- Listen objectively and not for feedback
- Ask open-ended questions to understand their point of view
- Summarize their words to prove you are actively listening
- Be willing to compromise. Nobody will have their way entirely!