Building Conflict Competence in the Workplace | Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

February 12, 2021by Vanessa Rose0
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Conflict competence in the workplace is being able to develop and apply certain skills to conflict with the goal of reducing harm, de-escalating tension, and increasing positive outcomes. Conflict competence can naturally help reduce instances of escalated conflict and instead turn disagreements into points of growth. For these reasons it’s important for leaders and employees alike to gain conflict competence.

Conflict Competence in the Workplace

Many people, when faced with conflict, with either lean all the way in or all the way out. In other words, it’s tempting to meet conflict with more conflict or to walk away avoiding getting involved. Conflict competence in the workplace can help us learn how to effectively lean in instead, creating positive change rather than adding fuel to the fire.

Introduce Conflict Competence in the Workplace Coaching and Training to Your Business Structure

Offering training and coaching to your team on conflict competence is key. Teaching different styles of conflict, common factors of conflict, how to remain aware of your reactions to conflict, and how to manage emotional intensity is important. Communication skills are a necessity here too, as these skills are the most basic of solutions to conflict in the workplace. Having a clear awareness of your individual conflict style can help increase the control over your responses when conflict arises.

Foster the Creative Power of Conflict

Foster a company culture that embraces constructive and creative conflict, allowing employees to safely enter a dispute without fearing personal attack, discrimination, or retaliation. When conflict can be handled effectively by its participants, competing ideas can be normalized. This can help move around energy that may otherwise cause creative blocks or tension within a group. By normalizing competing ideas inside of safe boundaries, innovation can emerge and the mere idea of conflict doesn’t have to send collective stress through the roof.

Know Your Triggers

Part of conflict competence in the workplace is knowing what your buttons are and what happens when they’re pushed. Similarly to knowing your conflict style, knowing what “hooks” you can help you maintain control over your response. It can also help reduce suffering and an increase in emotional intensity which, if left unchecked, can escalate conflict.

Practice Exchanging Feedback

Most of the time we communicate, the way we say things is more important than what we’re actually saying. It is through ineffective communication that we often need help resolving disputes between employees. Effective communication skills, however, can help illuminate the importance of word choice, tone of voice, body language, and overall manner when giving and receiving feedback. Teach your team skills and allow them to practice effective communication while exchanging challenging feedback.

Prevention of conflict in the workplace may be a tempting strategy to strengthen the culture and morale of your organization but building conflict competence in the workplace will produce more long-term positive results. Don’t get stuck figuring it out on your own. Get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can help your team evolve to the next level. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.

Vanessa Rose

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