If you’re a leader, hearing the word “conflict” probably sends a bit of a shiver down your spine. After all, conflict means that staff are unproductive and unhappy — right? Well, in this article we’re going to propose an alternative: that conflict can actually be a good thing in business. If that sounds crazy to you, that’s a perfectly reasonable response — but it’s possible. Let’s look at a few reasons why conflict in the workplace might just be a productive force.
1. Conflict forces new ideas to be considered
Leadership development is all about trying new things to see what works best, but over time it’s easy to fall into routines of the tried and true. When conflict rears its head in a professional setting, you as a leader are really being presented with an opportunity to try out new ideas. At the heart of most conflict is a difference of opinion — usually two or more ideas which are vastly different. To tackle this conflict in the best way, take the chance to give each of these ideas the spotlight and consider them all in detail. This will make your employees’ input feel valued and may just force you to try something new.
2. Conflict encourages innovative problem-solving
As the old saying goes, diamonds are made under pressure — so, sometimes, conflict can spur innovation. How so? Well, if a conflict is the meeting of two opposing viewpoints or methodologies, the solution is finding a way to either compromise or make these two ideas work together. Finding the way through conflict involves lateral thinking and creative problem-solving, and in the process will engage your team in new ways. It may also, ironically, strengthen the relationships within the team. This type of nurturing through adversity is at the heart of employee development and leadership training.
3. Conflict prepares you for the road ahead
Nobody ever said being a leader was easy, so any edge you can get will be welcome. You may, by instinct, want to avoid conflict at all costs, but by doing so you might actually be missing out on valuable insight. As a business leader, your job will be to steer the ship, and conflict can be a good indicator that you’re on the right (or wrong) path. By resolving team conflicts, you’ll be able to explore new ideas which may take you in different (and potentially more successful) directions. Even better, past conflicts will allow you to deal with future ones with more grace and experience.
If you’d like to learn more about how out-of-the-box thinking can enhance your leadership skills, get in touch with the Delphinium team today.