Sunday, September 19, 2021


There are both ups and downs of conflicts; so the right way to deal with conflict is to identify them right at the start, find the root causes, and build conflict-competency.

Wherever there are groups of people, there are conflicts. People vary in their ideology, cognizance, perceptions and priorities; experiences and preference, and they react to situations in different ways. Therefore, conflict is perhaps inevitable; there are both constructive and destructive perspectives of conflicts, so it’s important to apply the art and science of management to deal with them smoothly and drive change collaboratively.

The key is to find out the root cause of the conflict: People have cognitions and emotions; conflicts are inevitable and perhaps caused by competitions, different priorities, misunderstanding, hostility and excessive emotional involvement, It could be a cultural difference or stressful situations, etc. As a leader or a digital professional today, it’s critical to dig into the root cause, otherwise, you are likely to respond in a manner that reinforces the negative behavior and allows it to spread to the rest of peers, further stifling business changes.

How to handle conflicts effectively is the art of management: How aware are you of what triggers the conflict? Do you have cross team member collaboration, especially with senior team members where they can do deep analysis, learn from each other, and take a structural approach to deal with conflicts smoothly, with much lower risk of upsetting the good parts of the status-quo? What’s your philosophy and methodology to prevent negative conflicts; and how capable are you at avoiding the use of the specific behaviors known to make conflicts worse-to cause destructive behaviors? What are the specific ways to better manage them before and after the buttons to trigger the conflict are pushed

The bright side of conflict management is to build a creative workplace: When there’s a group of people working in a team towards the common goal, conflicts exist. If conflicts are caused by diverse viewpoints, seeing things differently, sometimes, the conflict can stimulate creative thinking and solutions when solving it positively; a number of times, a lot of new ideas come up for some very difficult tasks. It is the leader/manager's responsibility to resolve those issues unbiasedly for smooth functioning of the team, without discouraging independent thinking and knowledge sharing.

The true conflict in innovativeness is self-imposed by trying to make your “visions” reality. Thus, the management needs to clarify and unify the vision that can be embraced by the team and roll it into the reality. In fact, conflict management is an integral component of innovation management, enhancing a strong emotional cycle of conflicts to stimulate, passion to pursue, calm to analyze, persistent to implement, and dispassionately inspect and verify, etc. Open discussions upon disagreements are not inconsistent with peace and harmony and high performance, and to transform conflict into competency.

Conflict management is the bridge between embracing diversity and appreciating inclusiveness: There’s high probability to cause conflicts when working in a diverse team as often differences trigger conflicts, and sameness encourages compliance. Many traditional companies reluctantly embrace diversity by hosting cultural events or learning multicultural traditions; that is perhaps the first stage of building a global workforce; as they prefer compliance, avoid conflict. To move from embracing diversity to appreciating and reaping multidimensional value from inclusiveness, keep in mind, diversity itself is not a goal; it is the means to generate great ideas and solve problems alternatively.

Forward-looking companies leverage diversity to create the right dose of “productive or innovative” conflicts. One possible metric of conflict management might be that 'if no one is ever annoyed, you have too little conflict, and if everyone is always annoyed, you have too much!' So it’s important to build an inclusive team with “conflict-competence,” with the mix of generalists and specialists, analysts and synthesists; idea generators and idea implementers; as a team, they can think, work complementarily, stimulate healthy doses of conflicts and competition, and innovate continually.

There are both ups and downs of conflicts; so the right way to deal with conflict is to identify them right at the start, find the root causes; embedding conflict management into change/innovation/people management disciplines, to encourage open mindedness, humble attitude, and constructive behavior. Always keep the end in mind, set good principles, pull the right people in the same directions, and push the right button to achieve accepted common goals ultimately.


Post a Comment