: Wherever two or more are gathered together, there will be conflict!
Did you know that:
The outcomes are grim:
- 20% to 25% of all churches face active conflict today? It's a question of when, not if...
- 84% of pastors have experienced destructive church conflict?
- Pastors respond with anger (51%), defensiveness (51%), feeling overwhelmed (34%), and shock (34%)?
- Only 21% pastors felt confident they could handle the conflict?
Source: "Managing Church Conflict: The Source, Pastors Reactions, & Its Effects." Christianity Today 2004. These numbers were confirmed in 2005 and 2008.
- 68% report damaged or destroyed relationships;
- 58% report a general sense of sadness;
- 32% report significant declines in attendance; and
- 32% report leaders leaving the church.
Six, who cost $100,000/year on average
(including benefits and other employer costs, such as Social Security payments),
were involved in a conflict that lasted all year and consumed 10% of their time = $60,000 in
wasted employee time alone (6 x $100,000 x .10 = $60,000).
Lower Return on Investment in Labor.
estimates that the ROI of labor ranges between 150-500%. Even if we take the
lowest end of that range, then the lost ROI on labor caused by the conflict above
would be $90,000 (150% x $60,000 = $90,000).
Poor decisions are another very costly side effect of organizational conflicts,
though more difficult to quantify. The average
financial impact of a manager’s decisions equals 75-200% of his or her annual.
We’ll conservatively assume that our sample conflict caused only one of the
six employees to make just one terrible decision, costing 75% of that employee’s annual
salary. With these assumptions, the conflict would cost the company $75,000
due to poor decision-making (1 *$100,000 * .75 = $75,000).
Organizational conflicts also invariably lead employees to leave a company. While there is little question that an employee’s departure
has a significant cost, estimates of how to determine that cost range from 150%
- 700% of an employee’s annual salary. We’ll conservatively
use 150% and further assume that only one of the employees involved
in the conflict left the company. The cost of losing that employee—assuming that
he earns the average annual salary of $100,000 cited above—would therefore be
$150,000 ($100,000 * 1.5 = $150,000). In this example we’ll estimate that
the conflict was one of five equal factors that prompted this employee’s departure,
meaning that the conflict cost $30,000 in employee attrition (20% * $150,000 =
Adding it All Together.
Depending on their nature, scope, and duration, organizational conflicts can and
do lead to other significant costs including restructuring, employee sabotage or
theft, and lost productivity resulting from employee absence or reduced motivation.
We’ll ignore those costs for the purposes of our hypothetical conflict.
Even if we ignore these costs and use the very conservative assumptions above, our
sample conflict is still quite costly. Adding up all of the elements above, this single
conflict would cost the company $255,000. If we were to
calculate the costs for all of those conflicts and add them up, we’d see that the overall
costs are staggering. These costs would certainly be high enough for us to take
conflict seriously and decide to invest in combating it. . .
Conflict Management is a Specialized Profession
It is almost impossible to manage strong conflict from the inside. No matter what your position, tenure, or prestige, insiders are always suspected of taking sides. If you are the CEO, you are automatically suspected by most of harboring one position or another, and the moment you do take sides you have lost everyone in the opposition. If the conflict escalates, you become the target. More than 70 percent of all CEO's will resign at least once as the result of organizational conflict.
Second, it is impossible to keep your emotional reactions from influencing your thinking and actions. You have a vested interest in the outcome, and everyone knows it. You cannot be a true neutral while defending your own positions.
Third, it is extremely difficult to see your contribution to the problem. You may have had the best of intentions, but intentions rarely count.
Finally, you are not trained in conflict management. Effective conflict interventionists have years of training and experience. It's what I do and who I am.
Why These Fights Are So Damaging!
First, we ignore the conflict, hoping it will go away. It doesn't.
Then we try to placate each other. It doesn't work.
Then it spirals out of control and it is too late!
Few organizations have employees trained in conflict management, intervention, or mediation skills. We also have a culture of faking all is well when everything is going wrong, which leads us to hide from the growing fight.
Avoiding it makes it worse.
When it turns from issues to people, it quickly becomes personal - and vicious, and the negative effects can last for decades.
Initial consultations are always free!