As a manager, your role is to get your team to achieve the goals according to the strategy. Which is a fun, but also time-consuming job. Despite this, managers spend 20% of their working time on conflict management. (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011)

In a lean operation, we need focus at the main business. Conflicts can take focus away from what is important. That’s not to say they’re always bad. On the contrary; Too much harmony can even kill the business. Conflicts contribute to innovation. In the contradictions, the different perspectives, in the discussions – that’s where the creative is born. It what drives us forward.

But when the conflict goes from one, developing phase, to another, destructive phase – that’s when the problems arise.

Conflicts about the organization’s actual operations are examples that can move you forward in the team. They often contain problem solving. In the discussions you come out with an even better solution than what everyone could come up with individually.

But if you don’t get a solution in place; after a certain level in the cycle of the conflict tend to easily become a relationship conflict. Then the conflict becomes destructive and causes the focus on the problem to be lost. The important thing is to work on it. In time.

Properly managed conflicts contribute to success, expansion, competitiveness and creativity. (Ingela Thylefors, Conflicts 2018).

So, what can you do?

Luckily there are many ways to prevent inefficient conflicts:

  • Strive for an open working climate with high psychological safety
  • Train the team to give feedback in a way that is empowering and developmental instead of blocking
  • Create natural and fast communication channels to raise questions and problems. This is especially important in today’s situation when many people work from different places geographically. It is important to use the digital tools to the full. Slack is a good one.
  • Evaluate your company culture. Does it promote diversity in a natural way?
  • Develop guiding principles where you have agreed on how you should act in the event of conflicts. Only the knowledge of how to act can contribute to reducing the conflicts themselves.



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