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.

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Ideally, conflict is managed successfully without any third party involvement. In the majority of cases this is quite possible with good training and an environment that demands conflict be surfaced and dealt with. It should be the goal of an organisation that 80% of all workplace conflict is self-managed – by those directly involved, without having to escalate. In order to accomplish this, the workforce must achieve Conflict Competence.

Simply put, Conflict Competence is the end result of a process of learning to deal with conflict effectively. Appreciating the dynamics of conflict; understanding its aspects, types and stages; the ability to reflect on conflict and your own responses to it; managing emotions and engaging constructively with co-workers, are integral to this learning curve.

Conflict Competence develops cognitive, emotional and behavioural skills that enhance interpersonal relationships and reduce the likelihood of damage. A proactive approach to conflict as a change opportunity stimulates creativity, offering innovative outcomes and lasting solutions for both current and future challenges.

Workplace conflict is inevitable. Leverage it to transform your organization.

Craig E. Runde, Director of the Centre for Conflict Dynamics

The most important route to Conflict Competence is communication. Effective communication improves day to day interaction and enhances relationships. With healthy avenues for discussion, all those involved feel encouraged to have their say. When robust communication channels develop between colleagues, conflict can be resolved sooner and with greater ease, or even prevented from occurring in the first place. Of course, conflict isn’t limited to co-workers. It can emanate from relationships with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.

The ability to interact successfully with all is dependent on understanding the dynamics of discussion and negotiation. A person can have difficult conversations, recognise whether there is value in the way a discussion is going or whether it is headed down a destructive path; and additionally have the competence to redirect dialogue towards positive results.

Establishing a culture of Conflict Competence empowers individuals to have Brave Discussions, actively engaging to elicit positive change.