When we encounter conflict, many do an about-face and avoid it at all costs. Conflict, by definition, is competing or opposing needs or demands. It’s true — there are times when keeping the peace is an admirable quality. However, when we avoid conflict in order to achieve said peace, we miss an opportunity to reap the underrated benefits of conflict, like the relationships and trust forged after the discomfort. Steering clear of conflict in the workplace hinders us; it doesn’t help us. Here are four benefits you will see in the workplace from welcoming conflict:
1. Trust and Truth
When you are not communicating, employees will fill in the gaps you leave. Spoiler alert: its often a less positive version than the truth. Communicate the whole truth as much as possible. You will gain their trust and eliminate the more negative story.
2. Uncover Issues
When you mine for conflict by asking hard questions and having honest conversations, you often discover potential problems before it’s too late, allowing time to address them before relationships or projects go sideways.
3. Better Decision Making
When employees can openly voice disagreements in a safe space, honest opinions are shared and ideas are offered up more willingly. This leads to better decision-making, and employees who are more connected to the business and working harder for positive outcomes.
4. Enhanced Communication
In a company culture where conflict is addressed and resolved, the practice of honest conversation becomes more natural, and all employees become more advanced communicators. When hard conversations become comfortable, employees no longer shy away from speaking up in a day-to-day meetings.
While there still may be a time and place to take the more peaceful route, moving toward the tension in the room will reap great rewards in the workplace, driving results, building relationships and engaging your employees.
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