Benefits of Conflict Part 2

Last week I talked about one benefit of conflict, transforming anger.
Today I’m offering a second way conflict can be a benefit, by inspiring change!

Benefit #2 Conflict can Inspire Change

Resolved conflicts don’t have repetitive patterns; unresolved conflicts do. If you see repeating patterns it means there’s unresolved conflict, and unresolved conflict creates stagnation, resentment and team dysfunction. For example, I often hear managers say, “I’ve told them a thousand times and nothing changes,” or “They continue to miss deadlines even though I’ve given them support and resources.”

An ongoing conflict for many managers is when to let someone go and how to do it gracefully. The conflict is about losing the relationship, being short staffed or being labeled as “unfair.”

What to do: Recognize repeating patterns that cause bottlenecks. Realize that the behavior allowed has become a standard and there’s a lack of accountability.

Understand that people do what they do because it’s working for them, even at the cost of team collaboration. Instead of coping by blaming the situation or the other person, see the repetition as a clue that there’s an opportunity for change.

The change might mean initiating a difficult conversation, setting an appropriate boundary or letting someone go with dignity.

Questions to ask: What is happening over and over again that should not be happening? What is this repeating pattern trying to tell me? What change do I need to make to shift the pattern?


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Marlene Chism