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The day-to-day business of a credit professional, especially in today's economic environment, can present a number of potential conflicts.

Yet, when it comes to dealing with them, many people are lost, giving the concept of conflict management far too little thought and, subsequently, making the situation worse before making it better. Others choose to ignore the conflict altogether, acting as though they can will it away by not recognizing it. "The word conflict brings chills down the spine of many people. We do everything we can to avoid it but it's something that's a part of life," said Toni Drake, CCE. "It's nothing to be afraid of and it isn't always a bad thing."

Drake, in a recent NACM-sponsored teleconference entitled "How to Manage Conflict...And Survive it!," offered her uniquely credit-centric look at how to handle conflicts both outside of and within an organization. "When you have conflict, you're thinking about conflict with your customer or your debtor, maybe with the sales department" said Drake, who drew on her own experience as a credit professional to help attendees. "If you've got conflicts with this other department, you can cease to trust them if the conflict isn't handled correctly and that can create secrets."

Poorly managed conflict, Drake noted, can have an altogether negative effect on in-company interactions and ultimately sack a company's overall goal. "We may withhold information and this breaks down the communication," she said.

On the other hand, well managed conflict can be extremely productive and create a far more collegial, successful work environment. "Conflict can bring about new ways to problem solve, it helps us to think outside the box and it helps us to be creative," she said. "A lot of us have pat answers in what we do, but a lot of times we don't think beyond that or create new ways to solve problems. Conflict gives us an incentive for growth."

Drake also discussed other benefits of properly managed conflicts, as well as some tips of her own for how to effectively reach a compromise with other parties in a disagreement.

For a replay of this teleconference, contact Tracey Flaesch at NACM at (410)740-5560 or at traceyf@nacm.org. To learn more about NACM's teleconference series, click here.

Jacob Barron, NACM staff writer. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NACM_National.

 


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