SOME PEOPLE PRETEND THAT CONFLICT DOESN'T EXIST IN THEIR ORGANIZATION...
For the rest of us, it’s obvious that conflict is normal - it permeates our work and personal lives every day. What is not so obvious is the high cost of workplace conflict, particularly conflict that is hidden or unacknowledged.
Cultural norms in organisations are often about avoiding conflict. Even in crisis, conflict and Alternate Dispute Resolution are skirted in the blind hope that if issues remain unacknowledged, they will magically resolve themselves.
Avoidance takes many forms.
A common theme is one that starts with politeness, or indications of intent to respond timeously and appropriately. If that is not genuine, then avoidance is happening. It continues in the hope that the matter will go away. It festers, with commensurate consequences that are apparent or covert.
Disregarding the impact of mismanaged or unmanaged conflict is clearly poor business practice. Conflict brings about change one way or another. It can potentially be very destructive; but good Conflict Management inspires an organisation to harness its energy for creativity and transformation towards substantial and lasting results.
Dispute Settlement on its own doesn’t resolve conflict; Conflict Resolution on its own leaves value on the table; but Conflict Management is holistic: its purpose is to harness the opportunities embedded in conflict.
The process of finding common ground and reaching sustainable agreement is by definition creative, and has the potential to unlock astounding results.
Creditable surveys indicate that managers spend up to 40% of their time dealing with conflict in the workplace. The ability to avoid waste consistently becomes critical to productivity.
I'M MERVYN MALAMED FROM CAPE TOWN
"I help increase productivity through the effective management of conflict"
Having spent a career starting and running my own businesses in South Africa and the US, I am passionate about the ways that good Conflict Management can enhance business success stories.
"The management of conflict will either add to the team’s effectiveness or contribute to its demise."
The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry South Africa (Website 2014)