A Case for Disagreeing in the Workplace

A Case for Disagreeing in the Workplace

The title of a Harvard Business Review article snagged my attention: “Why We Should Be Disagreeing More at Work.” I have made a science and life’s work out of this concept, called (perhaps loftily) “conflict competence,” and to see it described so simply really turned my head. Author Amy Gallo’s take is refreshing and spot-on, and a recommended read.  

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Conflict Management Skills: The New Strategic Advantage

Conflict Management Skills: The New Strategic Advantage

An active conflict is a crossroads. Skillfully managed, an active conflict can propel an organization down a path of new opportunities, awareness, and ideas. Handled badly, a dispute can quickly cause distraction, raise stress levels, and create barriers to good things like productivity, communications, and creativity.

Much has been written on the great benefits of dispute resolution, and of the potentially transformative power of high-quality interventions brought in to play when circumstances have already become contentious and disruptive. As an antidote to the destructive problems of organizational conflict gone wrong, responsive mediation, coaching and similar supportive efforts are proven methods of returning a working team to a successful path. The value of getting back to work, having harnessed the catalytic energy of opposing ideas, can’t be overstated.

But what is the value of taking a more proactive approach to dispute resolution? Is there a way to quantify the return on an organization’s investment in training and support for the purpose of developing conflict competency skills and systems before a dispute arises?

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