Many of us are not really comfortable getting involved in a disagreement with another individual. Some would rather please and accommodate instead of engaging themselves in a heated discussion. When we sense that conflict is starting to build up, there are people who just walk away from it.
Seeing smiles and hearing friendly voices are what we really want to witness, not criticisms and confrontations. But even with the existence of conflict, we can turn the situation into a positive one and learn from it. Conflict may be unproductive at times, but it is also constructive when properly handled. A healthy argument is educational and stimulating. It even helps individuals enhance their abilities and make personalities grow more maturely.
The outcome of a conflict depends on the kind of behavior the involved parties have toward the situation. Conflict is constructive and positive if the behaviors are flexible to the situation and the nature of the conflict in general.
Constructive conflict is geared toward mutual understanding, thus, it balances the interests of the individuals or groups involved. It means that both parties should be able to find a common denominator in order to achieve a consensus and arrive at a shared decision. A key to a healthy and productive conflict is giving importance on the process and not just the desired end result of one party.
Learning the Signs of Constructive Conflict
Unlike a destructive nature of conflict, constructive conflict is not identified on the loudness or intensity of people’s voices when arguing or on the glaring look of people’s faces. Conflict itself already means a clash or a disagreement so you cannot expect people in a conflict to be smiling at each other and showing pleased, blissful dispositions.
Either parties may be arguing in rather loud and assertive voices but there is movement or progress in the conversation. Sometimes, the situation may seem unfriendly but you will sense that there is a continuing need to negotiate and compromise in the long run.
Even with the level of intensity of the conflict, the individuals involved are comfortable and do not feel that it is intimidation or coercion. The use of strong words and heavy statements may be present but the purpose is to persuade and influence and not to intimidate or impose harm. And because it is constructive, communication is a two-way street between both parties. There is openness to change and manifests a rational approach. People employ the attitude of curiosity, humility, and respect. The conflict itself is also based mainly on clear ground rules and processes.
How to Create a Productive Conflict Management
It is not difficult to achieve a constructive nature of conflict and get the glitches resolved in no time. Just refrain from being aggressive and unforgiving. Instead, be compassionate and understand that people make mistakes. Let the other party speak for what they think is right. Do not attempt to monopolize the conversation, but allow a give and take process in the exchange of ideas.
Carefully choose the words you use and make sure that you convey what you want to mean well. Avoid rude behavior and condescending remarks in order to gain mutual respect. If the situation is becoming negatively intense, drop the argument and set another time to discuss the problem instead.
Benefits of Constructive Conflict
Being productive in nature, a constructive conflict generates high-quality decisions in the workplace. With respect in viewpoints, everyone feels heard and respected. This promotes a diplomatic environment among work colleagues. When employees are exposed to a healthy kind of argument, they learn to become more mature professionals especially in dealing with problems at work and adeptness in making decisions.
A healthy and productive work environment is then created. To add to that, employees build good work relationships with each other. Work commitment and collaboration are fostered. To the organization, constructive conflict results in significant productivity from the people and a considerable savings in time and effort.
Since we cannot avoid conflict, let us face it. But for professionals like us, face conflict with grace and maturity. Strive for a positive outcome instead of attempting to worsen the situation. Reaping the benefits of constructive and productive conflict in an organization is truly satisfying.