Turning Conflicts into Solutions

In today’s workforce, diversity among age, gender and culture provides opportunities for new ideas, opinions and expertise, but it also can cause problems when discussions cross a line. Opposing views on cultural and social issues can escalate quickly and conversations may even become hostile. This emotional stress affects employees’ collaboration, relationships and productivity. To mitigate the risk of conflict, city and county administrators and their HR departments should take preventative steps by setting the tone for appropriate work behavior and implementing policies and processes for conflict resolution.

A conflict is a fight, clash or disagreement that occurs when mismatched goals are held simultaneously. Conflicts can stem from issues including miscommunication, misperception, unmet needs and unconscious bias. Fear of perceived negative emotions or outcomes leads to a belief that all conflict is bad. When handled correctly, however, good conflict can be a catalyst for positive change and enhance relationships between co-workers.

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