Guest Blogger – Allen Rutter
If an organization has a culture of healthy conflict resolution practices, there will be higher levels of trust, employee engagement, creativity, innovation, employee retention- and change will be seen as a good thing. Without healthy conflict resolution practices, there can be a big cost for organizations including a culture of stress, distrust, low creativity, the lack of innovation, low morale and unnecessary staff turnovers.
Conflict within an organization is inevitable. When conflict happens, the tendency is to assign blame and do everything to make it go away. Conflict can be a positive catalyst for growth and transformation if we have the tools and the will to embrace it.
If an organization is to take conflict management, conflict resolution and conflict transformation seriously, it is imperative that there is an educational component whereby each employee- from top to bottom- is trained, retrained and understands their own conflict management style.
Healthy conflict resolution tools empower organizations, their employees and volunteers to define conflict from their perspective and helps them hear and understand issues from other perspectives. We all want and need to be heard and understood. When that happens, we are more willing to engage others and begin to imagine new possibilities.
Organizations and employees that have a culture of healthy conflict resolution know how to focus on the importance of an alignment of purpose. The task and trick of successful conflict resolution and transformation is when we can transition from the emotional state of feeling hurt, being ignored, angry or disrespected to focusing on the organizational vision, purpose and goals. That is not to say that emotions are not important, but we must learn to focus on our mutual or shared vision and purpose for being who we are and doing what we do.
It isn’t easy to let go of personal agendas, de-escalate emotions and at the same time elevate rational problem solving. Nonetheless- if organizations want to cultivate a culture of conflict transformation and growth, it is imperative we know our conflict management style, practice healthy communication, active listening, focus on mutual interests, organizational values, and long range goals.
You can help minimize the cost of conflict in your organization and help generate the benefits of healthy conflict.
Allen Rutter has been a mediator and conflict resolution trainer since 2006 and is the executive director at Shalom Counseling and Mediation Center located in Archbold, OH and Bryan, OH.
Are you in need of practical ways to ease conflict in your everyday work life? The upcoming C4NPR workshop, Conflict Resolution Tools for the Nonprofit Workplace, will give you an opportunity to accurately discover how you respond to conflict and what your conflict management style is. Join us on February 7, 2019 to discover new ways to effectively manage conflict in your nonprofit.