Nobody likes conflict. It can be uncomfortable, stressful, and even detrimental to personal relationships. However, when it comes to the workplace, avoiding conflict is not an option. In fact, ignoring or avoiding workplace conflict can lead to a myriad of negative consequences that may hinder productivity, damage relationships, and ultimately, hurt the bottom line. This blog post discusses the high cost of avoiding workplace conflict, the benefits of addressing it head-on, and how to effectively deal with it.
A Downturn of Productivity
One of the most significant costs of avoiding conflict in the workplace is a decrease in productivity. Unresolved conflicts can lead to a reduction in motivation, morale, and ultimately, performance. When tensions run high, individuals are more likely to experience fatigue and distraction; which can lead to decreased productivity. On the other hand, addressing conflict head-on can improve communication, encourage collaboration, and lead to increased productivity overall.
When team members are unhappy, productivity is likely to suffer since they are less likely to put forth their best effort. This can result in missed deadlines, lower-quality work, and a decrease in overall efficiency.
Damaged Workplace Relationships
Avoiding conflict in the workplace can lead to damaged relationships between team members. When a conflict is unresolved, alienation and distrust are created in place. This can create a hostile environment which can make collaboration and communication difficult. As a result, relationships between team members may suffer leading to tension in the workplace and an overall decrease in morale. This damage can occur directly or indirectly, but the effects are still the same. Individuals who work together for a significant amount of time are bound to disagree. If conflict avoidance is the norm, those disagreements may fester and lead to harmful assumptions or resentments.
Turnover Rates and Missed Opportunites for Growth
High employee turnover can be a significant cost to any organization, and conflict avoidance can increase these rates. Individuals who are not comfortable raising concerns or voicing their opinions in the workplace may feel undervalued or unsupported. This, in turn, may lead to poor job satisfaction, eventually leading employees to seek opportunities elsewhere.
Conflict can be an opportunity for growth, both on an individual and organizational level. When approached head-on, conflict can lead to increased understanding and collaboration. By working through disagreements, we can gain new insights, learn to listen better and develop new skills. Avoiding conflict can deny us these opportunities for growth.
How to Effectively Deal with Conflict
Addressing conflict head-on can be difficult, but doing so is crucial for personal and professional growth. One effective method for managing conflict is to have an open conversation. Communicating openly and honestly provides an opportunity for both parties to express their opinions and emotions. This dialogue can lead to a better understanding of the conflict and the individuals involved.
Collaborating together can create a sense of unity and cooperation, which can help to bridge any gaps in understanding and reduce the risk of future conflicts. Additionally, it’s important to remember that conflict doesn’t always have to be seen as a negative thing. If handled correctly, it can allow growth and development within the workplace. Read more about the 6 Common Causes of Workplace Conflict and how you can avoid them.
What's The Takeaway?
Avoiding workplace conflict may seem like the easier option in the short term, but the long-term costs can be significant. Decreased productivity, damaged relationships, high turnover rates, and missed opportunities for growth are all potential consequences of conflict avoidance. As a free resource, download our conflict resource template.
Addressing conflict head-on can be challenging but is crucial for personal and professional growth. By communicating openly and honestly, teams can work collaboratively, and gain new skills and insights, ultimately leading to a stronger, more productive organization.