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3 Tips to stimulate useful conflict in your workplace

by , 08 February 2016
When one thinks of 'conflict' in the workplace, the first things that come to mind are work stoppages, damage to property, verbal and physical assaults, etc.

But what if I was to tell you that conflict in the workplace CAN be useful?

That's right! Even though conflict can be seen as opposition between values, actions and interests, it's that opposition that can be constructive to your company's development.

For example, conflict can be useful for when your employees are bored and need some energy to boost them.

Here are 3 tips on how to stimulate useful conflict in your workplace, as well as how to identify destructive conflict before it goes too far...

Tip#1: Be a devil's advocate

Challenge the way things are being done in the workplace. Call for fresh ideas and radical suggestions.

For example, you may want to challenge outdated work methods.

Remember that sometimes evolution involves [r]evolution.
 
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Tip#2: Question decisions

Encourage employees to question and even challenge a proposed course of action.

Call for diverse opinions.

Remember that by allowing a diverse range of opinions, from several employees, to enter the workplace, you can foster a sense of belonging
within each of them.

In other words, it can make your employees feel that their opinions count for something, which can enhance their sense of worth in the company.

It can also encourage greater tolerance and, therefore, cooperation in the workplace.

Tip#3: Foster competition

Play on the rivalry between the different divisions, departments or companies.

Encourage them to 'beat' the others. This can lead to increased productivity.
 
When is conflict destructive?

Now, there's a fine line between constructive and destructive conflict. So take note of the following circumstances that form destructive conflict…

·         Morale becomes lower;
·         It interferes with work;
·         It creates legal action which wastes money and time;
·         There is damage to property and/or injury.

If any of these factors present themselves, then you need to stop the conflict from continuing immediately.
 
*Do you want to learn much more on managing conflict in the workplace? Then page over chapter C01: Conflict – minimising in your workplace in your Practical Guide to Human Resources Management today, otherwise click here if you don't already have it. 

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