Some businesses prosper, others fail.

Some businesses make great products, others vaporware.

Some businesses solve problems, others create them.

But all businesses will, at some point, face internal conflict. Why? 

Any group with at least two non-identical people will disagree over something. All those cells and microbes we have in and on us make us unique. And unique beings will disagree, eventually.

You might be asking, “How is this related to The Future of Work?” Well, in many ways.

For starters, because the Future of Work is humanistic, we acknowledge our differences. We don’t hire for “culture fit” or people whom we perceive to be “just like us.” We embrace diversity and differing views. And when we do that we also have to embrace the conflict that will inevitably ensure. We don’t pretend like we will never argue. We don’t force people to bottle up their feelings because they can’t be a thoughtful, multi-faceted individual at work. We say, “Guess what, we’re going to have conflict. And here’s what we’re gonna do when it happens.”

The Future of Work is not a corporation trying to shape everybody to put on a face when they come to work. And where that work includes acting like an inauthentic robot, pushing paperwork around the internet. Legacy businesses (and their HR departments) seem to embrace preventing disagreement. The Future of Work does not.

We can’t tell you the exact steps to take when conflict arises. We’ve learned a lot, and continue to learn a lot. (Notably, the importance to train and assign someone to act as an unbiased mediator). But the first step most assuredly includes changing one’s mind about having differences at work. First, because they will happen in the Past, Present, and Future of Work and second, because the Future of Work embraces actual human beings coming to work.

Note: Treating people as they want to be treated (aka respect) is a baseline necessity to make Future of Work teams operate cooperatively. Lack of respect is usually an unacceptable disagreement for functional, high-performing teams.