Workplace Conflict As Opportunity

Back in March I wrote a blog focusing on workplace conflict and the need to develop “soft skills” to succeed at work (“The Importance of Conflict Management Skills in the Workplace,” March 23, 2014).   A follow up to that topic is a piece that appeared in on May 15, 2014 and written by Zeynep Ilgaz and titled “Conflict Resolution: When Should Leaders Step In?”

In the piece Ilgaz makes several important points when dealing with conflict between staff members:

  • The importance of diagnosing the conflict
  • The need to identify a goal that your team will want to achieve
  • The need to carefully consider when and if to intervene

She also talks about the opportunity that exists in conflict:

Although conflict can cause stress at the time, the effects of it can be incredibly valuable. Take this conflict as an opportunity to learn and improve. What is the explicit positive that will come out of this situation? Focus on it, and encourage your team to do so, too.

 When conflict comes up in your organization, it’s important to take a step back, think about the situation, and see how this conflict can have a positive impact on the team.

A handy sheet listing the impact of conflict on the workplace is part of the piece, which I have linked below. For instance, organizations adopting conflict resolution processes, like mediation and arbitration, report 50-80% reductions in litigation costs.

Workplace Conflict Statistics from “Conflict Resolution: When Should Leaders Step In?” by Zeynep Ilgaz, 5/15/14,


Also, see this piece published on on May 20, 2014 and written by Ben Dattner, “Most Work Conflicts Aren’t Due to Personality.”

And see this piece published in CIO Magazine on February 2, 2015 and written by Sharon Florentine, ” Why Soft Skills Are Key to a Successful IT Career.” 

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