How can organizations reduce workplace conflict and boost collaboration?

‘Self-knowledge is the first step to maturity’ ~ Jane Austen

How can organisations boost collaboration?

In this article we are going to explore how helping everyone develop a deeper self-awareness and self-understanding may help reduce tribalism and boost collaboration in organisations.

But first, here is a story which illustrates the problem.

I visited the 9/11 memorial in New York recently and was moved by the beautiful water feature where the towers once stood and the wonderful museum with moving stories of bravery on the day.

What also struck me was that many intelligence agencies had information that could have prevented the attacks, and had they shared it readily with each other, the attacks could have been prevented. But each agency seemed to be in a competition for importance and influence and as a result intelligence sharing did not happen. Each agency thought only about protecting its own influence rather than about the common good, without exception. It is easy to blame individuals or leaders, but the origin of the problem is deeper, and linked to the way our minds work.

This problem is also rife in organisations where one department is at odds with another, and colleagues in the same department are sometimes in conflict with each other. This contributes to low productivity, poorer outcomes, and increased risk. It can also result in a loss of life, for example in hospital environments where teams are not communicating effectively. In the UK 10 million employees report workplace conflict. 900,00 workers took time off due to this (ACAS). In the US the cost of workplace conflict is estimated at $359 billion/year (CPP Inc., 2008). Companies with a poor corporate culture report a 48% turnover of staff, compared to 13% where there is a healthy one (Columbia University, 2012).

To address any problem, we need to explore the root cause, and in this case it lies in a deeper understanding of how the human mind is wired. There are four hidden drivers in our thinking that contribute to the problem.

Conditioning: We are all conditioned by our environment and past influences. We are not aware of this, and yet become attached to our conditioning. This becomes our ‘normal’ and shapes our opinions and beliefs. Anyone we meet who is different is ‘wrong’ and we either avoid them or try to convince them of our point of view. Conflict follows.

Explore the Conditioning module in the app here

Identity: This is also an unconscious process. If I belong to ‘Department A’ that becomes my identity, and I am at odds with ‘Department B’. We compete for influence and resources in the organisation. This turf war does not serve the organisation as a whole.

Explore the Identity module in the app here

Self-interest: Our hidden self-interest operates in the background, shaping our thoughts and actions. We are not always aware of it. In any meeting we are always looking out for ourselves and resist anyone else gaining influence, even though they may not be interfering in our work in any way, and they may be right. Our self-interest stops us living with integrity and collaborating with others for the common good.

Explore the Self-interest module in the app here

Comparison: The unconscious process of comparison operates in the background in all of us. If others are better in some way it generates a feeling of envy and resistance, and we blame others for how we are feeling. We often act then to pull the other person down and conflict follows.

Explore the Comparison module in the app here

A deeper understanding of these hidden drivers in our thinking can help us put them to one side and collaborate with others for the common good. It can also reduce interpersonal conflict.

Organisations can help by training staff in self-awareness, for their own personal growth. A natural by-product of this is better collaboration and reduced conflict. To be effective this training cannot be done as a one off event because it is quickly forgotten. Regular group discussions combined with the use of the app and the built in online journal help users go on a journey of self-awareness, and it is this that brings transformation.

Explore the online journal in the app here

The HappierMe app makes this process of self-awareness easy, with more than 70 bite-sized modules and a growing library of content. This awareness is then applied practically to help boost relationship and communication skills, boost collaboration and reduce conflict, and help people meet challenges with much less stress and anxiety. This can boost collaboration and productivity.

To find out more download the HappierMe app and begin your free trial.

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Understand your mind. Live a happier life.

Life can be tough. The HappierMe app is your personal guide to help you feel better now, but also to take you deeper to understand your thoughts and feelings. It supports you to become the person you want to be, to be happier, manage your emotions and  succeed in the world. There are also coaches you can speak to through the app.

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved