The Cost of Conflict Incompetence

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.”

Calming Conflict

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.