Conflict in organisations is inevitable, and if not well managed it can cost organisations enormously – financially and otherwise. For instance, the price tag for training new staff to replace those who leave, as a consequence of poorly-managed conflict, is just one high expense. Medical and stress leave, legal and related costs associated with harassment, bullying and other such claims, loss of clients and lack of productivity all adds up and have a serious impact on the bottom line. Effects on morale, working relationships, team unity and even the reputation of the workplace are all at risk, too, due to ill-managed conflict.
Since conflict is going to occur, there is nothing to be gained by avoiding its existence. This, among other things, means acknowledging that conflict is a normal part of working interdependently and is the starting point consideration in building both conflict intelligent leaders and a corporate culture of conflict competence. Accomplishing both objectives requires a shift in mindset to understand that most conflicts have components that signal unrest that can have destructive outcomes for staff and the organisation itself if mismanaged or not addressed. It also requires the understanding that well-managed conflict can result in innovative solutions, collaborative problem-solving, and improved morale and teamwork.
Cinnie Noble is a certified coach and mediator and a former lawyer. She is Senior Partner of CINERGY® Coaching, based in Toronto, Canada. CINERGY® coaches and trains coaches, mentors, HR, lawyers and mediators worldwide in the use of this model. Cinnie is a pioneer of conflict management coaching (also known as conflict coaching) and is the author of 2 coaching books, “Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You” (2014) and “Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model” (2011).
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