Conflict is a fact of life. This becomes even more obvious in the context of business and career where we must inevitably relate with people who have varying backgrounds and diverse perspectives. So it’s not a question of whether we’re going to experience conflict, the question is how do we handle it in such a way as to turn it around for good?
The capacity to handle conflicts productively could therefore make the difference between success and failure whether in the workplace or in the world of business.
Let’s discuss some specific benefits that conflict resolution skills can bring to your life and work.
Much in the same way that gold is refined by fire and knife is sharpened by friction, conflict can help us achieve better results at work. When we respectfully consider differing opinions and welcome opposing ideas with an open mind, we end up making better decisions.
This is because we would have been able to weigh the pros and cons of each position, thereby gaining new insights that help us to choose the best course of action. This will ultimately improve productivity and performance.
Conflict resolution skills help to promote collaboration as opposed to competition. When we learn to listen with empathy and respect for other people’s viewpoints, we help them to feel understood and supported.
By relating with one another this way, team members will create an environment where each person feels free to express their uniqueness.
This will make them better positioned to align with the business vision and group ideals instead of merely pursuing personal interests at the expense of the greater good.
The process of conflict resolution usually involves considering a number of alternatives in order to reach a resolution that is most beneficial for all parties involved.
This helps us to see issues from various angles, thus affording us the benefit of refined perspective. If we all think the same way then we will be operating within a limited mental horizon.
But when we have to deal with opposing views and differing opinions, we learn to see things in a new way. This can in turn open up new possibilities that we might not have considered otherwise.
One of the indirect benefits of applying conflict resolution skills is the knowledge gained in the process. As you try to find common ground and explore avenues to reach an agreement you will learn a lot about the people you’re working with.
For example, you will get to understand how people are affected by personality differences, cultural backgrounds, personal values and societal influences. You will also develop tolerance, emotional intelligence and creative problem solving skills.
Apart from supporting your character development, the entire process of conflict resolution will make significant deposits in your knowledge bank, upgrade your communication skills and build up your experience in working with people.
All of these will make you more valuable at work, thus paving way for a successful career as an entrepreneur or a professional.
In a business environment where key players are not equipped with conflict resolution skills, it is not uncommon to experience avoidable stress and tension. People tend to bottle up their grievances or go to the other extreme and simply ‘explode’ not minding the consequences.
But when conflict resolution skills are learnt and applied, people are encouraged to discuss issues freely and work out the most suitable solution for everyone. This helps to defuse tension and build a relationship of mutual respect where everyone feels valued for who they are.
The benefits of conflict resolution skills are indeed enormous. When we adopt the right perspective with a determination to pursue the highest good of everyone involved, we can turn every crisis into an opportunity to learn, grow and improve.
Adefunke Akoni is an Alternative Dispute Resolution advocate whose objective is to mediate and be a peace maker across the globe. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or visit her blog at www.thearbitrationhub.org.