There is a saying that variety is the spice of life. Most people prefer variety when it comes to choosing the right frame for their reading glasses, a tie, a shirt, a dress or shoes, but more often than not people are less interested in a variety of opinions, they struggle to communicate in a variety of languages and they find it challenging to understand and be tolerant of a variety of customs and religions. The reality is that variety really is everywhere and it exists internally and externally to your company, stretching beyond your employees to suppliers and clients as well. It is therefore only natural that conflict will arise from time to time and it is critical for managers to be able to handle conflict when it arises, as well as develop ways of preventing conflict from becoming damaging to their teams.
Conflict is a dreaded topic for most. Losing your cool in the heat of the moment can break down a relationship and destroy trust that took years to establish. Even if you apologize afterwards and that apology is accepted, the damage can never really be fully undone. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word conflict? The majority of people have an unpleasant incident associated with the word conflict and although conflict can indeed be a negative and damaging experience, in its simplest form it is merely a difference of opinion. The reality is that in the global economy of today, you are bound to somewhere somehow cross paths with someone who is different from you and not only does this make life interesting, but in business, cultivating the strength of our diversity is a key enabler of innovation and business sustainability. It is therefore critical for the businesses of the future to learn how to use conflict to their advantage and turn the heat into light.