No organization is free of conflict at any level. Not even at the home of the most famous mouse in the world, Walt Disney and not even at the highest levels of leadership. In fact, so much conflict was taking place at Disney when Michael Ovitz, a Disney Director and the CEO, Michael Eisner were experiencing major clashes that Ovitz was terminated and a court case ensured. The financial cost was $140 million for Ovitz’s severance package and legal fees on top of that. So much for fairy tales.
As a CEO or manager, the trick is knowing if and when to step in to settle situations. An even better tactic is prevention.
There is plenty of conflict to go around these days. The “Me” in the title of this article is not me but you. So, let’s clear that up right now. I’m the center of enough of my own conflicts without being a part of yours. The three main ‘me’ conflicts are Me – Me, Me – You, and Me – Job. Those of us who work with behavioral management are attune to these three and a good coach or mentor can spot them quickly and the good news is that there are clear methods to deal with each of them.
A Little History
Research on what makes people tick, began in ancient history around 444 B.C. with Empedocles, who was the founder of the school of medicine. This is also the beginning of the DISC language for behaviors, Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.
There is no blueprint for teams because every team is different, and every individual member of the team is different. Both teams and individuals have goals, challenges, levels of expertise, and experiences. These differences can be the catalyst for chaos. While we are finally learning how diversity of ideas and opinions is a good idea, are we equipped at handling the chaos that can bring?
People are an organization’s greatest asset. These same people can also be the source of some of your greatest frustrations including conflict. You can read about some of the most common types of conflicts here. In addition, conflict can be costly.
An article by Helmut Buss suggests that these costs are often unmanaged as many organizations see them as being unmeasurable, part of the cost of doing business, or fail to realize how conflict adds to costs. Here are some ways Mr. Buss suggests that conflict can eat into your profits.