Is your organisation in conflict?

New reports suggest office conflict is eroding productivity.

Petty water-cooler conversations, rude e-mails, workplace bullying – you name it: workplace conflict can come in many different forms. But regardless of the approach, the underlying conflict it can cause within an organisation can derail a team.

Staggering statistics released by FairWay Resolution this year reveal that within a 12-month period almost one quarter (24%) of New Zealand employees experienced at least one disagreement or argument at work that distracted or prevented them from doing their job.

The report suggests the statistics are “significant – particularly given that a third of those disagreements lasted for longer than one month”.

Conflict can have detrimental effects on employees

Young confident caucasian businessman screaming on his employeeYet employees don’t know where to turn. When employees reached for help, only half received satisfactory support from managers. Even fewer called on their HR team for support.

Is conflict management a core competency in your organisation?

Conflict can easily be swept under the rug if it isn’t made a core part of management. It’s no wonder New Zealand’s productivity lags by 27 percent in comparison to other OECD countries.

When conflict is ongoing in the workplace it can cause employees unneeded stress. The longer the conflict endures in a workplace, the more likely are missed deadlines, absenteeism, loss of focus, poorer quality of work, lack of motivation – the list goes on and on. Overall, all of these factors add up to a less productive workforce.

Where does all this conflict stem from?

According to the report, there are two types of major conflict in New Zealand organisations:

  1. Differences of opinion about how to perform a task
  2. Relationship conflict that is focused on values, individual styles, personality, and personal taste

Globally personality clashes account for nearly 49 percent of all conflict, according to a CPP report.

Working in a team can take energy

Why don’t people in our workplace think and behave as we do?

That is the question team members ask themselves most often; but going down that road only leads to a dead-end street of frustration with no solutions. The better path to take is to examine the various positive strengths our fellow team members contribute; and realise that our differences are just as, if not more, important than our similarities.

Imagine a team that all preferred to work analytically but lacked creativity. How well would they perform in comparison to a team with a balance of the two?

Understanding that not all conflict is bad conflict

Not all conflict can be considered bad. When working in a team, you are bound to have some disputes amongst members when different ideas and opinions are presented. Understanding the difference between negative and positive conflict will allow you to actively manage the positive side of it.

As the report states, “one thing is clear – organisations that invest in equipping their employees with the skills to manage conflict effectively reduce the risk of lost productivity that arises from conflict in the workplace. Conflict management is not a soft skill or ‘nice-to-have’, but is critical to optimising performance of New Zealand’s organisations”.

Harnessing positive conflict will help you to improve future business

You can use diversity as leverage to move beyond tolerance towards synergy.

We’ve witnessed teams transform in a mere 90-minutes by using TetraMap, a NZ-developed model, tool, framework, and approach that encourages individuals to consider a situation from multiple perspectives.

TetraMap introduces an easy-to-use language based on nature that helps people understand themselves and others better. It gets to the core of why people are the way they are, allowing for a better flow of communication. Introducing it into your team can allow you to make conflict management a strategic part of your business to get past the negative and focus on creating a highly effective team.

To have an open discussion about how TetraMap could help reduce conflict in your workplace, give us a call on 09-579-8566 or email me.


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