The Corona crisis has initiated profound changes and called for new business strategies, which necessarily lead to organizational changes. However, every change usually entails the potential for conflict and often leads to conflicts of interest that already start within the management team. The way the management team deals with this is one of the most important factors for a successful implementation of the change. Small differences and fluctuations in the leadership team not only slow down its effectiveness but can also have a wave-like effect on the entire organization. This can endanger the entire change process. It is in the organization’s interest to avoid this at all costs. But how?
The Corona crisis has initiated profound change processes. Customer and value creation chains are changing. Required new business strategies necessarily entail changes in organizational structures, business processes, competence requirements, culture and cooperation.
Every change usually also entails conflict potential! People are habitual, they defend their status quo. Even accepting change costs psychological energy. Whether it is a changed workplace, a different position in the organization chart or a new role – such situations almost always contain the potential for interpersonal friction.
It is not uncommon to find oneself confronted with the question: Has the colleague got the better lot? Why me? What is just here? Do I have to position myself or someone else? Who has actually decided this?
A lot of matters with a lot of potential to permanently hurt needs and feelings or at least to sow doubt. Such violations can become ‘hot’ conflicts and overshadow entire organizations for years. Conflicts not only influence our relationships; they also limit our perception and penetrate our intentions and behavior by ‘clouding’ our approach to objectivity. One is emotionally involved. This creates a defensive, sometimes even open or covert aggressive attitude.
Conflicts thus prevent the openness and creative, proactive and solution-oriented participation that is actually necessary in these phases of change. A constructive conflict culture is therefore the basis for successful change management.
It depends on the conflict culture
The conflict culture within an organization always begins with the management team. An aligned leadership team that is ‘at peace’ with itself and visibly pulls together is the decisive premise for (for what?) A profound change usually leads to conflicts of interest within the leadership team. In my experience, the way the leadership team deals with this is one of the most important indicators for the later success in implementing the change. Small differences and fluctuations in the leadership team not only slow down its effectiveness but can also have a wave-like effect on the entire organization. Employees often have a sixth sense for perceiving even the smallest climatic fluctuations between managers. No wonder – even as children we all learn to recognize (and exploit) the slightest differences, for example between parents. Such disagreements thus endanger the credibility of the management team and the planned change.
The better the skills of the management team are to perceive and resolve conflicts of interest and conflict, the more credible a planned change will be perceived from the outside.
Conflict culture can be learned
You can train constructive conflict culture by learning…
… to openly address conflicting interests and resolve them together in a constructive manner
- … You can train constructive conflict culture by learning…
- … to find a suitable language with which one can avoid an escalation as well as a suppression of conflicts. Because in this case, sooner or later they will return (and mostly just when you don’t need them…)
- … to address one’s own needs (personal as well as professional) appropriately, so that they can be appreciated and satisfied
- … to make yourself aware of your own feelings in order to be able to react empathically to those of your colleagues
All this is the basis for being able to make even painful decisions together without an organization and its representatives losing their face. A constructive conflict culture enables a trusting cooperation on equal terms and thus an efficient and above all effective decision-making culture. It creates a climate of mutual trust and respect, which is transferred from the management team to the entire organization.
All this can be learned – by every (management) team. Mostly also when conflicts have already dragged on and manifested themselves. Even dynamic, ‘full-fledged’ conflicts can be brought under control with the help of an accompanying mediation process (before or after the seminar).
Dedicating one or two days to one’s own conflict culture in the management team pays off in various ways, including
- an improved cooperation characterized by trust and respect and the effectiveness of the management team
- an increased speed and quality of how future decisions are made and above all how they are lived
- an improved credibility, including how these decisions are perceived and taken seriously from outside
- an improved trust in the decisions as perceived by the employees.
- Managers are perceived as role models
- Decreased personal (professional?) stress for leadership team.
- Improved strategies to deal with mistakes and differences in opinion – which in turn promotes innovative and solution-oriented thinking
- An improved culture and stress levels in the organization in general, because you no longer have to be ‘on guard’ against what might come
Thus, a conflict workshop in the management team becomes a functional basic building block in a transformation process. It simultaneously represents a sort of “mental wellness” to reduce personal stress, affecting both professional and personal life as the basics of conflict management can be applied in every area of life.
We offer conflict workshops and conflict management trainings in various forms:
- As a one or multi-day event (depending on needs)
- As a virtual or as an in-person seminar with individual preparatory discussions
- Embedded in a comprehensive transformation process
- As a singular measure/training for (leadership) teams.
If desired, a conflict seminar can be very effectively enriched with evidence-based personality tests to help you recognize the important aspects of your own conflict behavior.
Together with you, we design an individual workshop concept tailored to your needs and help you on your way to a constructive conflict culture.
It is worth it!
If you are interested, please contact me or us directly!