Workplace conflict may be frustrating, but is it worth the incredible effort required to tackle it? Authors Craig Runde and Tim Flanagan suggest taking a close look at the financial and human costs of not being able to reduce conflict – a problem they call “conflict incompetence.”
In their book, Becoming a Conflict Competent Leader, Runde and Flanagan write that “when conflict is mismanaged, costs mount. Some out-of-pocket costs like absenteeism and lawsuits are relatively easy to see and compute. Others, like poor decision-making, lost opportunities and diminished quality of working relationships, can prove more costly, but they are more difficult to quantify.”
What can leaders do to manage conflict and improve a situation? Learn to replace destructive behaviors with constructive behaviors, and you will see a difference in how conflict plays out around you.
In their book, Becoming a Conflict Competent Leader, Craig Runde and Tim Flanagan of Eckerd College, an affiliate of the Center for Creative Leadership describe seven constructive behaviors: four of them active, and three of them passive.
The 4 active behaviors all involve some overt behavior and typically reduce tension.
What is clout? Clout includes control, power, authority and position. According to the Center for Creative Leadership’s Jennifer Deal, most conflicts have to do with the natural desire of older people to maintain their clout and the desire of younger people to increase theirs.