If we could only exist in environments where peace and harmony reigned supreme, we would have less stress and be more productive.  Or would we?

Contrary to popular belief, conflict (where this a disagreement between two or more people) is not always a bad thing. In a business sense, it is almost impossible to not have conflict with you have diversity of people, thought and experiences.  For innovation purposes, you actually want to encourage healthy conflict or disagreement, as that is often when brilliant ideas are formed.

In an ideal world, we would be part of organisations, groups or communities whereby there is a culture of trust, where differences of opinions are respected and encouraged and where decisions are fact based, with no hidden agendas or personal attacks.  You and I both know this is not the case.

The ability to learn when conflict or disagreement moves from healthy to unhealthy is a skill that is developed through experience and some training.  When there is a minor disagreement, most people will ‘give it a go’ and attempt to find a resolution. 

It becomes more complicated, however, when the parties who are in conflict have a history of disagreements or will not concede any ground.  In a business sense, this can prove disruptive to your team dynamics and provide unwelcome distractions.


At what point should we call you?

Well, it depends on your situation.  

For example you may want your line managers to have some useful skills in conflict management so they can successful navigate disagreements to ensure everyone stays productive and can work together.

You may find a situation where two people just don’t get on and once a grievance has been submitted to HR, with various ‘he said, she said’ moments, it becomes difficult to find a way through and even your most experienced HR leader may struggle to support in resolve such a contentious situation.

We find that the earlier you seek outside expertise, the increased chance you have in resolving issues quickly, fairly and where there is no need for further intervention.  As tempting as it is, we do not advise ignoring the situation, hoping that it will resolve itself.  It is amazing how quickly things can escalate to a point that a serious complaint is made or in some cases an ET1 lands on the desk of HR with your name on it.

Not all conflict situations will need our help though and we won’t take on assignments just because you’ve asked us too.  Instead we will work with you to understand what is going on and then suggest a course of action, it’s then your choice as to what you ultimately decide to do.   Any conflict management support we provide is charged on a day rate basis of £595 + VAT and it includes reviewing relevant documentation, meetings with those involved and faciliting any formal meetings to resolve the conflict.

Even if you are not sure that your situation warrants our help, we can still give you some advice as to what to do to so you can manage the issue internally.  Either way it’s a win win situation if you get in touch and we’ll advise you as best we can.

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