Many people view conflict as uncomfortable, divisive, and something that should generally be avoided. In actuality, conflict can be a valuable asset and is arguably necessary in order for a company to produce its best work. Not all conflict is created equal and it definitely needs to be managed correctly in order to be beneficial to a company. Below are two ways conflict is beneficial.
Stronger Ideas: Rational and reasoned disagreement is often necessary to produce innovation. Some level of conflict is required if a company wants to strengthen a product, improve or revise their direction, and get the best out of their employees. Conflict can force parties on both sides to reevaluate their positions, think through the relative strengths and weakness, and find ways to address weaknesses and fears in order to convince the other side of the merits of their position.
Improved Teamwork: If the conflict comes from outside the team it offers a great opportunity for the team to pull together and refine ideas (whether it be a project, product, presentation, etc.). This can spur additional creativity on the team and force members to be at their best; it may also allow members that were marginalized or afraid to speak up, the opportunity to more fully participate.
If the conflict is within the team, it can help to refine great ideas and/or be a tool to improve teamwork by forcing the two parties to come together and create a common solution. This also helps members to better listen to each other, respect other positions and ideas, and understand others.
How do you feel about conflict? Is it a positive force in your business or team? Leave a comment below.
—Aaron Baldwin, Designer