All workplaces entail conflicts, of varying scales and of varying levels of importance or unimportance. One significant factor in the quality of our work lives is not so much whether conflict exists, but how it is handled within our departments and institutions. There are some situations in which we can merely avoid conflict, and it is by far the more prudent course of action to do so. Conflicts of any variety should not be courted, nor pursued unnecessarily. But we might also do damage — to ourselves and our careers, our colleagues, students, and institutions — by avoiding conflicts at all costs and thereby allowing important issues to go unresolved, to fester and continue their harm.
We are all familiar with the trope of the notoriously cranky colleague who courts conflict — personal and professional — at every opportunity. These individuals seem, cantankerously and perversely, to relish the disputes that they manufacture. Our culture has developed many entertaining and colorful phrases to describe such people, and so I don’t need to concern myself with those folks here. I’m much more concerned about another reaction to conflict that can be nearly as toxic — perhaps even more toxic. That reaction is one of simple avoidance: all too common even among some of us who hold leadership positions and are explicitly charged with addressing or resolving a variety of types of professional conflicts.
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2014/07/23/essay-how-deal-conflict-when-working-academe#ixzz38POtCWeb
Inside Higher Ed