3 Reasons Conflict Isn’t So Bad

Do you try to avoid conflict at all cost? Is disagreement seen as negative in your organisation? Let me dispel this myth. Conflict isn’t so bad. Indeed it can be positive…

Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago. – Horace Mann

Conflict Is Good

I believe conflict is good because it

  • Leads to better team work
  • Stimulates new ideas
  • Provides reason for discussion

Better Team Work

Conflict and criticism are unavoidable. They are a fact of life. But we can choose to deal with them positively.

Provocation is on the opposite lane of resolution. – Toba Beta

The purpose of criticism is to make an improvement. To make things better. Or to put things back on course. However, there’s more to simply stating how you feel about someone or something. Criticising others is difficult and risky and needs to be done constructively.

The effective leader is assertive and makes their views clear. Their honesty and openness puts them in control. The team benefits because it is learning and improving. And in time trust is won because the team welcomes criticism as a natural part of its development.

Stimulate New Ideas

I have said that disagreement is unavoidable and creates a potential for teams to evolve and grow. My view is to encourage conflict.

Ideas stand in the corner and laugh while we fight over them. – Marty Rubin

When the team questions and challenges things as they are it begins to innovate. It creates competition. It encourages people to communicate with precision because everyone wants to be sure their views are understood.

Conflict stimulates creativity and innovation. It is essential in any organisation that wants to improve.

Conflict Is a Reason for Discussion

I’ll say it again, disagreement is unavoidable. It is inevitable in any organisation where people have different goals and different needs.

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict. – Dorothy Thompson

When there’s discord we have a responsibility to deal with things quickly. Discussion is needed. It gives team members the opportunity to explore each viewpoint and to put conflict into perspective. Discussion leads to consensus.

We can foster greater leadership in our teams by allowing members to resolve disagreement themselves. Indeed this will help create trust.

Having different opinions is an essential benefit of teamwork. Conflict can be a creative and positive experience where everyone gains something.

Have Your Say

How do you deal with conflict? Please join the discussion.

Creative Commons image courtesy Jamie Carter.

Last updated 17 May, 2014 3 CommentsShare the knowledge …


  1. Tinapmac says

    Good post Martin, conflict is not something we should run away from. Enjoy today.

  2. says

    As expensive a face-to-face meetings can be (eg, ten to twenty euro per minute for the people value alone), there is no better time to justify a meeting than to address an issue latent with conflict.

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