Halt ‘bad’ conflict before it takes root
Contrary to popular belief, conflict in the workplace can be a good thing.
Contrary to popular belief, conflict in the workplace can be a good thing. For example, a healthy disagreement can ensure that your credit union or project team has considered all sides of an issue and finds the best solution to a complex challenge.
But conflict can turn ugly, too. Learning to recognize the signs of a situation that’s about to take a turn for the worse can prevent you from damaging a relationship with a co-worker. You’ll also head off any conflict with others that distracts from your primary goal of serving members.
Escalating emotions signal that the conversation has become personal, and therefore, detrimental, says Stanford University Graduate School of Business Prof. Lindred Greer, who specializes in organizational behavior.
Greer pinpoints three types of conflict that indicate underlying issues the group should discuss before progressing:
- Process: When people start arguing about mundane topics like logistics—what time to meet, who’s going to do what, which responsibilities each person should have—typically they’re expressing dissatisfaction with their role on the team.