The Challenge of Infighting
Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Assisting people to get beyond their differences
When there is a need for a business to deliver on a big vision, strategy or goal, the energy of your people that can be harnessed towards that objective is critical. Challenges that eat away at or waste that energy are infighting, ongoing conflict or when people fundamentally don’t get on. This is a major cost in many businesses, a cost that affects more than just the people involved and a cost that doesn’t show up on the monthly Profit & Loss.
Leaders must ensure that in situations like this, they make it clear that managers and staff have a responsibility to get on with one another, get beyond any major differences and work together for the good of the business, customers and fellow staff. Anything less is totally unacceptable. We are not talking here about all differences or challenges – you want people with different views and people who are prepared to challenge one another. We are talking about infighting or conflict that has become, or has the potential to become, dysfunctional. These situations typically require some leadership intervention in order to be resolved.
Once the decision has been made to address differences the process can often be quite straightforward and the timeframe to resolution can be relatively short. Difference is bridged by communication and of all the communication skills the most important one in these situations is listening, genuinely listening, and wanting to understand fully the perspective of the other person or group. Sometimes people can undertake this by themselves once the intent is there and sometimes a third party facilitator can assist.
The important aspect is that these situations must be tabled and dealt with rather than being ignored or tolerated. As they are addressed individuals concerned feel better within themselves, other staff and the culture of the business benefit and major aspirations for the business are more likely to be achieved because greater resource is available to fuel those aspirations.
Take time to consider where the energy that fuels your business is being wasted and know that addressing this begins with an honest conversation.
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