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Some workplace conflict is good for business

Businesses need to foster a culture that makes employees feel safe to disagree, as experts find safe conflict has benefits to an organisation.

According to mediator and conflict management consultant Catherine Davidson, organisations that create an environment where colleagues feel safe to say what they really think helps the business to deliver on its goals.

“People often say to me that making a complaint or having the argument was the best thing they ever did. Where people are encouraged to disagree the business benefits from the creative potential that difference can bring.”

It’s vital employees understand how to engage in discussion and dialogue that promotes a deeper understanding of differences, Davidson said.

“Educating people on the process and skills involved is key to embedding this culture and ability.”

Businesses can benefit from teaching its staff how to disagree safely by:

  • Establishing a protocol around acceptable practices;
  • Providing opportunities to practice and demonstrate skills;deli
  • Sharing experiences across all levels of staff;
  • Modelling and monitoring behaviours from the top down; and
  • Running workshops that teach listening, questioning and negotiation skills.

“Being able to talk about difference openly diminishes covert conflict and associated issues presenteeism and employee disengagement,” Davidson added.

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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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