What comes to mind when you think of workplace conflict? Does anger, gossip, or high emotions shoot across your radar? Do you believe that individuals who experience conflict at work have a lack of self-control? Do you also think that conflict should not exist in the workplace?
What if I told you that all conflict isn't bad? Would that change your perspective on the conflict? And, what if I went a bit further and said that conflict could actually be productive.
Yes, productive conflict, who would have figured.
So how does one go from conflict in the workplace to productive conflict? First, let's discuss what conflict is and why it is essential in the workplace.
For this article we will use one of webster.com definition of conflict which states that conflict is a competitive or opposing option of incompatibles; and also a mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes or internal or external demands.
In the workplace, people have different experiences and bring forward different ideas on how to approach their work and solve organizational issues. Therefore differing perspective and the opportunity to put forward your ideas lead to conflict which is apart of the process for productive outcomes when problem-solving.
Everyone’s first instinct when it comes to conflict is to avoid it. Nobody wants to argue or fight with someone else, especially at work. No one wants to get into a fight with that coworker they have to see every day. However, conflict doesn’t have to be destructive. It can be productive in the end, if you know how to deal with it the right way. In your career, conflict is inevitable, and you must learn how to manage conflict situations that evoke strong emotions so that you can successfully add value for a positive outcome.
The Everything DiSC® Productive Conflict Profile will help you to better understand yourself, your natural tendencies, motivators and stressors, and how you engage with others in a differing style during a conflict. The baseline for the DiSC® Productive Conflict profile is understanding your DiSC® style. Next, our Everything DiSC® productive conflict will help you learn how to react, manage your emotions and deal with conflict personally.
In addition to learning about your DiSC® style during a conflict, the Everything DiSC® productive conflict report will help you gain insight into the ways that each of the disc styles deals with conflict. All DiSC® styles have productive and destructive tendencies when in conflict. Let's take a look at how conflict appears in some of the DiSC® styles:
- An individual with a D style will want to have victory, get results, and achieve personal accomplishment. They may also be impatient, insensitive, blunt, and be overcome by a need to win. On the productive side, this individual doesn't sugar coat their message, they are straightforward and direct, and they are open to debate.
- An individual with an I style is passionate but can be outspoken and impulsive, and they may fear rejection, disapproval, and not having their voice heard. They tend to avoid conflict, glossing over conflict situations, rather than facing it head-on. One of the pressures of conflict gets too intense they make personal attacks. On the productive side, an individual with an I style communicates with empathy and encourages open dialogue.
- An individual with an S style may be prone to passive resistance and compromise and may have fears of facing aggression and letting issues simmer beneath the surface. On the productive side, an individual with an S style works towards a comprise, is flexible, listens to others and will communicate tactfully.
- An individual with a C style is defensive, uses passive-aggressive tactics, and becomes overly critical. They are rigid and fear being wrong. They may be prone to displaying strong emotions. On the productive side, an individual with a C style will desire fairness, accuracy, and rational decisions. They get to the root of a problem through a heavy focus on the facts.
Completing the assessment will allow you to delve deeper into these different styles of conflict management. It will give you an in-depth analysis of your own personal style of conflict management, and it will teach you how to deal with each of the other styles appropriately by offering tools, strategies, and advice on how to make each conflict productive.
The Everything DiSC® Productive Conflict Profile will also touch specifically on how to avoid destructive responses during a conflict. It will go over the ways in which you are in danger of making a conflict destructive, as well as why you may be prone to doing these things, and the thoughts that may be behind them. It will offer suggestions to help you recognize and avoid these behaviors before they get out of control, and teach you how to redirect your thoughts in order to create more positive and productive responses to conflict. The overview of your natural destructive responses demonstrates how the behavior appears, and the automatic thoughts that may lead to the response are strongly impactful in your desire to change your behaviors. Some of what an individual with a D style will learn in the "why do I do this?" section are:
- Arguing: The individual report will provide a summary of why arguing is unhealthy and when does it become about winning or losing. The individual will have an opportunity to assess their emotions and understand what is the driving fueling their behavior. They will also assess how much fo the argument is about winning
- Defensiveness: An individual with a D style may sometimes see conflict as a win-lose situation. As a result, you may become defensive if it looks like the odds are against you. Consider what you are afraid of when you become defensive.
- Dismissing opinions: Because of the certainty of your position, you fail to be open to the other sides position and become dismissive of their opinions. You have a fixed perspective and remain inflexible due to your absolute certainty.
The Everything DiSC® Productive Conflict Profile is a great tool for those wishing to better understand how to manage conflict in the workplace. While it will benefit an individual who wishes to take the assessment, it may also be a good idea to have everyone in the workplace take it. This will not only teach everyone a little bit about themselves, but it will allow them to learn how to deal with conflict together, with everyone on board to create a more positive workplace.