Conflicts are integral parts of working relationships. They cannot be avoided as there are always various interests, values and objectives within an organization. It is essential to find a feasible cooperation, deal with challenges and constructively manage frictions.
Often conflicts evolve from trifles and can make us sick if they are not used in a positive way. On one hand, unexpressed and frozen conflicts may lead to stagnation. On the other hand, there may be a negative impact on cooperation in case of escalating conflicts and personal offense.
It is the most effective attitude to see conflicts as signals that serve as indicator of the need for change. Positively solved conflicts are often a motivating force for such change and innovation.
The most important process in professional conflict management includes the removal of taboos related to the conflict itself. Only when areas of conflict are addressed openly, a creative solution option may succeed. A successful conflict culture on an organizational level includes
- accepting the fact that conflicts are unavoidable
- communication and information on conflict management
- the formal framework (guidelines on conflict management)
- if needed, the introduction of internal or external conflict counselors
Conflicts cannot always be solved. A conflict culture on an institutional level includes the establishment of authorities (such as committees) that represent the various interest groups.