Conflict as a Tool of Innovation
For the most part, we live in a culture that shakes its head at conflict, especially if it can be avoided. When this happens, communication is diminished if not completely sabotaged, people become complacent with day to day tasks, creativity is stifled, and your business is left with mediocre results for the sake of politeness. Studies have shown that conflict in the workplace isn’t just good for communication and efficiency, but it is also good for creating an exchange of ideas. Conflict as a tool of innovation may be a frightening alternative to the mostly peaceful interactions in your workspace, but when managed well, conflict may just be the key to your business’ success over the long run.
Taking the Temperature of Your Company’s Culture
Your company’s culture encompasses the attitudes and practices taken when two or more people interact. These tend to be unspoken rules, but they are very much accepted among your employees. Some offices are naturally chaotic, allowing for heated discussion that borders on in-fighting, while some are as silent and cold as the grave. These are both extremes of cultures found throughout businesses across the nation. Where does your office sit on that spectrum Are your employees comfortable confronting problems or do issues bubble up over time Before you determine how you can use conflict as a tool of innovation, first take the temperature of your company’s culture.
Turning Conflict Into Cooperation
Many of your employees are naturally going to avoid conflict like the plague. This will result in a general attitude of solitude as they work as much alone as possible. When problems arise, they may be forced under the rug or behind the water cooler in coffee-break gossip. Instead of letting this continue, be the first to open dialogue with those you work with. If someone seems to be frustrated, kindly ask them about it. Dig for answers, even if it may make people uncomfortable. If you find it necessary, be the mediator between two or more people if you see there is an underlying problem.
As your team gets used to this process of conflict as a tool of innovation, the more likely they will be to open up with new ideas instead of tolerating the tried but broken way of doing things. Soon, your business will be the home to a newly established sense of cooperation and collaboration.
Getting Creative From Conflict
If you expect your business to continue pumping out new ideas, you’ll need to emphasize employee engagement. Getting your employees invested in new projects or switching up the old ways of doing things is the only way your business will continue to grow with the changing desires of the public. Conflict as a tool of innovation helps turn your workers inward to find solutions to problems and then back outward as they work with others for resolution. Through collaboration comes a culture that prioritizes creativity. To help your team along, emphasize these areas of interaction through practice and encouragement.
-Listening: Help your workers along by listening instead of talking. Most of the time, people won’t bother listening to new ideas if they believe their ideas won’t ever be heard. Listening should be prioritized first. Doing this will allow a chance for others to hear and be influenced by new ideas and plan changes.
-Confrontation: Everyone hates confronting issues, especially if they can be justified in some way, which is why it is avoided so spiritedly until it erupts on its own. By this point, confrontation is useless to you because frustrations are so high that no one is solution-focused. If you know there is an underlying problem, get it out in the open to generate dialogue. Remember to always focus on listening first, speaking second. Through managed confrontation, you get resolution, understanding, and innovation.
-Cooperation: This step comes with the cost of time. Often, employers are more interested in compromise over resolution to save time. Get that idea out of your head completely. True cooperation comes when all parties are working together for a solution that they can both be happy with, even if it takes a little longer. Taking the time for this step contributes to open dialogue and employee engagement that is so important.
Conflict as a Tool of Innovation and Satisfied Employees
The company culture of dialogue and resolution is directly linked to the satisfaction employees feel at work. Being listened to and working together to come up with solutions breeds creativity, innovation, and a better workplace for everyone. Get your employees engaged with these tips, and read more from Mighty Recruiter or use our tools to better your business.