Imagine a serene pond on a calm, sunny day—its surface a mirror of tranquility, reflecting the world around it. Now, envision tossing a pebble into that pond. What happens next? The once-peaceful water ripples, disturbances radiating outward, disrupting the calm.
Much like that tranquil pond, workplaces often begin with a sense of harmony, a shared vision, and a team working together toward common goals. But, sooner or later, a metaphorical pebble is thrown into the mix—conflict. Workplace conflict is the ripple that can disturb even the most placid professional waters.
The Hidden Cost of Workplace Conflict
Have you ever considered the true cost of workplace conflict? According to research conducted by the CPP, the average employee spends 2.1 hours a week dealing with conflict. For the US alone, that translates to a staggering 385 million working days spent every year as a result of conflict in the workplace.
But it's not just about the time lost. The impact goes much deeper. Seven out of ten employees (70%) see managing conflict as a "very" or "critically" important leadership skill. However, 54% of employees believe that managers could handle disputes better specifically by addressing underlying tensions before things escalate.
The Power of Effective Conflict Resolution
So, how can organizations navigate these choppy waters of workplace conflict more effectively? The key lies in having a robust conflict resolution strategy. It's not about simply putting a bandaid over serious problems; it's about addressing the root causes and instilling trust among team members.
At Increase Your Impact, we've found that a strengths-based approach to conflict resolution is incredibly effective. Why? Because it not only helps us understand the individuals we work with, but it also provides us with a common language to communicate when conflict arises.
The Strengths-Based Approach
Using Clifton Strengths, we assist our clients in using their unique strengths to navigate conflicts. Instead of escalating disputes, our approach encourages individuals to communicate their frustrations and express their needs. It's a transformational process that can turn conflict from a destructive force into a catalyst for positive change.
In our upcoming blogs, we'll delve deeper into the art of conflict resolution using a strengths-based approach. We'll explore practical strategies and real-life case studies that demonstrate how this method can foster collaboration, enhance team cohesion, and ultimately increase workplace productivity.
Partner with Increase Your Impact to master the art of navigating workplace conflict. Together, we'll discover how harnessing our strengths can transform conflict into an opportunity for growth and harmonious collaboration.
A Client’s Story
One of my most memorable experiences during coaching involved a colleague who was struggling with a challenging work dynamic. This individual had been experiencing frustration with a coworker who seemed to always step in with unsolicited advice and solutions. The frustration was palpable, and my client perceived this coworker as a "know-it-all."
Fortunately, our coaching sessions had provided insights into the Clifton Strengths of both my client and her coworker. It was this knowledge that allowed us to uncover the truth behind her coworker's actions. We discovered that her coworker had high "Input" and "Learner" strengths.
"Input" meant that she had a natural inclination to gather and collect information and knowledge related to the projects she worked on. Her "Learner" strength indicated a deep love for the process of learning itself. When you combine these strengths, they can sometimes come across as a "know-it-all" if misunderstood.
However, what my client came to realize was that her coworker's actions were driven by a genuine passion for learning and collecting information. I posed a simple question to my client: "Do you enjoy doing research and finding answers, or would it be helpful to have easy access to these answers?"
The answer was clear—my client did not enjoy the process of gathering and researching information required for her job. This newfound understanding allowed her to shift her perspective on the situation entirely.
What happened next was truly remarkable. Not only did this shift in perspective change the dynamics of their working relationship, but it also paved the way for a genuine friendship that extended beyond the workplace.
This story perfectly illustrates the power of a strengths-based approach to resolving workplace conflicts. It goes to show that with the right insights and understanding, conflicts can transform into opportunities for deeper collaboration and lasting connections.