What Is Conflict?

Conflict Is Part of Us

Case Study

When David, the CEO of a small independent financial adviser, encountered a petty workplace conflict between two of his employees, he didn’t immediately address the problem. “I don’t even remember what it was about, but it was over an insignificant matter, like the way one of them spoke to the other”. It wasn’t important and he hoped the whole episode would blow over. That turned out to be a mistake. “It escalated to the point where they ceased cooperating and were actively working to undermine each other. They weren’t professional at all. Their attitude infected the whole office and turn over plummeted”. In short, something that started small turned into a crisis.

What is ConflictBut What is Conflict?

We all know when we are in conflict whether it be at home or work, in the boardroom, courtroom or battlefield. We have all experienced the damaging effects of conflict in terms of words said, actions taken and injury suffered.

A simple definition of conflict which is:

Conflict occurs when one party has a need that is not meet by another.

The key characteristics of conflict are:

It stems from perception.
It is centred on values.
It is linked to emotion – logic takes second place.
Every conflict – at whatever level – is personal and unique.
Conflict starts small but grows exponentially if left unchecked.
Conflict is cyclical and ever present.

Conflict is a paradox

We know that while conflict has a cost, it also bring benefits. Every war results in technical and medical advances. Competition and crisis force development. Creative tension brings innovation. Mistakes drive improvement. In short, we need an element of conflict for progress but unmanaged conflict destroys us.

Conflict will always be with us. It’s about people. You cannot eradicate it.

The key is to manage it.

If you are experiencing conflict and want to minimise the cost and maximise your opportunity from it contact us to arrange a consultation.