Constructive Conflict

gear-organizational-effectivenessConflict is healthy and predictable. Confrontation is not. Effective organizations disagree, argue, dispute, stake turf, exhibit ownership and emotion. Like Khrushchev, they sometimes metaphorically “pound their shoe on the podium.” That said, they differentiate themselves by being oriented around issues, not people or personalities. They don’t infer motives. They don’t impugn others. They don’t try to resolve conflict in elevators, hallways, out of earshot of the person with whom they have a conflict. Conflict arises from unmet or disrupted expectations: “you said you’d do this, but you didn’t.” Effective organizations try to get outside the conflict, and resolve it quickly, privately, and one-on-one. There are several models for resolving conflict constructively. Grease recommends the “PINCH” model. Its effectiveness derives from universal application throughout the organization as mandated by business unit heads, and top management. It is understood as “the way conflict is handled around here.” It is the hardest to instill in organizations. Why? Most folks don’t like conflict because it “feels” personal; therefore they avoid it. Bad idea. Resolve all conflict quickly. Stay on the issue. Try it. Move on.


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