Conflict has become so much a part of western culture that when it is absent, many look for it in their entertainment and others simply generate it to fill a void.
Conflict is defined as “competitive or opposing action of incompatibles.” You probably don’t need a definition of conflict from Merriam Webster since you have certainly experienced it. Business leaders spend an inordinate amount of time and energy managing conflict or better stated, refereeing conflict in the workplace.
One 2008 study estimated that workplace conflict consume 2.8 hours each week and totals to $359 billion a year. A myriad of books, materials, and consulting services are available on the subject of conflict management, but the cost of conflict in the workplace continues to rise.
Estimated costs probably do not take the full toll into consideration such as lost productivity, loss of skilled employees, employee replacement costs, and much more.
C-level leaders and managers at all levels often are not versed in the subject of workplace culture and even fewer understand the intricacies of culture-scaping. Thus, they often find themselves reacting to conflicts and not really getting to the root of the problem. Dealing with workplace culture is a subject of its own but transforming the culture is the best way to reduce conflict.
However, and in the meantime there is a simple conflict management tool… Dr. Tom Cocklereece CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC calls it Bucket List Conflict Management.
No, this is not the bucket list of which you have heard or seen at the movies, but it is very simple and practical. In life and work every person has two buckets available to use in their relationships when conflicts arise.
Bucket One is filled with fuel…
Bucket Two is filled with water…
When one encounters conflict, it is the individual’s choice to choose which bucket to use in each situation. The fuel in bucket one includes things that add to the fire and destruction.
People who grab Bucket Two are often times tactful, polite, and often encouraging in their comments. But they too sometimes ignite workplace fires of conflict themselves. Of course there are many people in between who seem to use one bucket as often as they do the other.
Encouraging people when they do the right thing while educating everyone to fix conflict before it really starts will go a long way to reduce workplace conflict and increase productivity…and people might even enjoy their work.