ABOUT POSITIVE CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

Corporate success is no longer about ‘dividends to shareholders’ only.

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If leadership wasn’t for sissies in years past, the multi-dimensional challenges of today go much further in testing the resolve of CEO’s and the formation of their legacies for all stakeholders, and for society at large.

Even the most profitable “brutes” of the corporate world are responding to demands for transparency, ethical behaviour, community support, and so forth. Why? Why bother with all that “soft stuff”?

Is it because of the 2008 crash? The General Motors’ multi-million car recall debacle? The “Occupy” Movement in the US? Or Twitter ? Maybe it’s a growing propensity and ability to command authenticity from all players in society – and it is our corporations that are the heartbeat of that.

Generation Y/ Millennials are moving in to the workforce fast, and will not be “colluding” with organisations in the ways their grandparents did. These folks are not just employees, but customers, shareholders, suppliers and more.

The Employee Model of the past century called for loyalty, consistency and above all, willingness to toe-the-line without question. That model is beyond dead.

The key difference between then and now is the way in which conflict is considered within an organisation.

Traditional entry points and procedures for the resolution of conflict through management or H.R. are no longer enough.

They provide well for formal action and enforcement of policies, procedures, and other rights-based protocols. But getting to that point too quickly, without exhausting more effective, cheap, sustainable, and constructive options that are controlled by staffers themselves, is a costly missed opportunity every time it happens.

“The Employee Model of the past century called for loyalty, consistency and above all, willingness to toe-the-line without question. That model is beyond dead.”

The baseline is general conflict competence within a culture that expects ‘Brave Discussions’ to happen all day long – a culture that demands conflict engagement rather than avoidance, with in-house proficiencies like managerial mediation, to keep things from escalating to expensive and destructive modes.

The goal is to have all conflict managed, and at least half of that at the lowest level, by the people involved.