Common Outlook Consulting Inc. New Perspectives
February 2015 - Issue # 15-02

Founder's Message

As you might imagine given my profession, I'm a proponent of addressing (vs. avoiding) conflict.

It has a clarifying effect, plus I like the learning that happens when it's well managed. In the workplace, we have observed three common categories of conflict: Task, Process, and Emotional conflicts. We decided to share this with you in the hope that it can help you manage your way through it more successfully.

The first two: Task and Process conflicts, are extremely valuable, for they have positive effects on group performance when resolved productively. Conversely, Emotional conflicts tend to have detrimental effects on performance and can be harder to resolve.

Today we're looking at how to tell the three apart. Simply making the distinction among them provides some indication of how to resolve them. As you might imagine, however, some conflicts are easier than others to deal with, and of the three we've identified, Emotional conflicts are the hardest to resolve. We'll have a specific look at those in our March Newsletter.




"Differences can be the sources of creativity, or they can serve to divide."    
~ Craig Runde




As a team leader, consider starting Task or Process discussions by acknowledging that perplexity, worry, or dissent may fuel some of the conversations that arise, and that these feelings are not only common and natural, and we all tend to have them when we consider new endeavours. Then add that you, and the group as a whole, will be mindful of and seek to address these concerns as they arise.


Coming Up  


Tune in next month as we explore how to resolve emotional conflicts.   




Three Common Workplace Conflicts              

Conflict is a word that often makes people uncomfortable. Indeed, many would agree with the assertion: "Conflict is bad".

Our view is different.

We say that conflict is not inherently good or bad; it just "is". Conflict is a normal part of any human relationship. Without a doubt, the impact of conflict can often be bad because many of the ways we (don't) manage it are unproductive and damaging. Whether it is bad or good, then, is really more a function of whether we address it, and how we do so.

It is our observation that workplace conflicts can generally be divided into three categories: task, process, and emotional conflicts. In this article we have a modest goal: share with you how we distinguish among them. By so doing we believe you'll already get ideas about how to address and manage these different types of conflict. But we won't stop there. In future articles we will offer concrete suggestions on how to manage them - in particular the emotional conflicts.

Without further ado, let's define our three "winning categories":

Read more 


Peter Hiddema


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