Conflict in the workplace can be a huge drain on resources. An organisation riddled with conflict has higher levels of gossip, back-door politics, personal attacks and staff turnover whilst also having lower productivity and morale.
In addition to performance issues and profitability, unmanaged conflict can cause increases in absenteeism, staff turnover and healthcare costs. It can occupy significant managerial time, including that of senior managers and directors, and can contribute to low employee morale. Numerous studies estimate that as much as 30%-40% of a manager’s daily activity involves dealing with some form of conflict.
Conflict, however isn’t always bad. There is constructive conflict, where it can act as an engine for change and innovation. There is also destructive conflict where it stifles change and innovation. Left unaddressed, destructive conflict will not go away - it escalates. They key is in reducing the levels of destructive conflict whilst ensuring that potentially useful conflict is handled in ways that will keep it productive.
This escalation forms a Conflict Continuum which is at the heart of our approach to dealing with conflict. It is based upon the premise that anyone can prevent unnecessary conflict from happening. All that is required is a desire to apply a simple set of principles consistently. The approach is based upon the use of cooperative communication and language that actually helps people work together to solve workplace problems rather than confrontational language which pushes people to opposite “sides”.
The Conflict Continuum