Conflict is a normal part of the workplace experience and can actually increase the cohesiveness of work groups when dealt with effectively. However, most workers and administrators circumvent conflict if possible and the thought of having workplace conflict makes people shake. What is about conflict that makes people uncomfortable? There are several reasons that people avoid conflict if they can.

Conflict is often associated with fighting and arguing. In the workplace, workers try to maintain at atmosphere that is devoid of negativity. Since we link conflict with destructiveness, workers and administrators steer clear. This is not always true. There is certainly conflict that results in arguing and extreme negativity. However, conflict does not have to be disparaging.  Conflict handled civilly is the best way to obtain the greatest outcomes for workers and the organization as a whole.

Both in and out of the work world, people want other people to like them. Whether we admit it or not, much of the behavior in the workplace, stems around getting others to like us. This is often the reason we avoid conflict. Involvement in conflict puts likability at risk. Conflict does not mean we like or dislike the person, but rather it means we are having a disagreement over a behavior or an action that caused concern. Conflict and liking someone are not connected. I have had conflict with some of my favorite colleagues. Likewise, I have not had conflict with colleagues I did not like. As such, workers and administrators need to realize that conflict does not impact whether we are liked or not, but unresolved conflict can be detrimental for the entire organization.

Conflict is often seen as being directed at us for personal reasons and as such, we take it personally.  We allow the conflict to impact our view of our personal selves. In environments where there is persistent workplace aggression, acts of aggression may be directed at us for personal reasons. However, in normal environments, healthy conflict is not personal. Typically, it is about a behavior or action. It is not directed toward at us for personal reasons. Conflict needs to be dealt with in a professional manner and work conflict does not have to influence our personal selves.

More often than not, conflict is avoided because workers and administrators just do not have the skills to deal with it in a healthy way. Conflict resolution is not something we just have, but we have to learn the skills to deal with conflict effectively. With skill development and practice, workers and administrators learn how to deal with and grow from conflict. Conflict resolution skills are vital to have to resolve conflict rather than letting it fester.

If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent workplace aggression or need help with conflict resolution, please contact me at jankircher@jankircher.com or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at jankircher.com. Help is out there.



10/15/2016 11:06am

There is nothing about conflicts and disputes what I have to say. Actually I always avoid to give statements regarding such kind of topics. You are expected to close this topic.


When working, it's inevitable not to have a conflict with someone or to the matter itself. What you have said is true that sometimes we tend to argue not because of the person itself but because of the opposite belief on the matter. When we lose in an argument, we should not hold a grudge against the person but must take it professionally. We can have a healthy working environment if we can only be matured enough not to overdone things especially when conflict arises.


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