Center for Creative Leadership 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.”

To identify the cost of conflict in your organization, consider the following 7 factors:

No. 1: Wasted time. How much management time is wasted on conflict rather than addressing more productive issues? Remember to factor in lost productivity when employees spend time complaining to coworkers about the conflict.

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The Cost of Conflict Incompetence

One thought on “The Cost of Conflict Incompetence

  • July 18, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I think that key is to keep constructive conflict over issues from degenerating into dysfunctional interpersonal conflict, to encourage team members to argue without destroying their ability to work as a team. the better way to manage conflict in workplaces

    # Worked with more, rather than less, information and debated on the basis of facts
    # Developed multiple alternatives to enrich the level of debate
    # Shared commonly agreed-upon goals
    # Injected humor into the decision process
    # Maintained a balanced power structure
    # Resolved issues without forcing consensus

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