I think it is safe to say that no one really likes conflict. It’s usually stems from an unpleasant situation that is often put off and avoided. The problem with avoiding or in some cases ignoring conflict is that it become all consuming. Therefore, the best way to deal with conflict is to embrace it. That’s right, embrace it, but in a positive light. Instead of viewing conflict as something to avoid at all costs, change it into something that presents an opportunity to learn, connect and provide valuable insight.
Sometimes it takes a conflict to invoke change. If everything runs along the same day after day without problem, everyone involved is either “going through the motions” or choosing to ignore problems. Life is messy and full of disagreement, so when there is an absence of conflict, that is the time to be wary.
When faced with conflict, change your mindset from alarm bells, to thinking cap. When conflict arises, don’t go on the defense, take it as an opportunity to open your eyes and listen intently. Often it takes something going terribly wrong to come to head in the form of conflict before any remedy can be discovered and enacted.
Conflict enables us to show our true colors. When everything is hunky-dory, it is easier for us to put on a happy face, often masking our true feelings and/or opinions about something. When conflict arises, the mask is ripped off and the truth comes barreling forward for all to see. This is the perfect time to connect with others. True, it can be painful and downright hurtful during to the conflict to one or both parties, but it also clears the air and enables us to move forward. The point is to move beyond the hurt and open and connect on a new level of understanding with someone.
Ever heard the quote “what doesn’t kill you, can make you stronger”? This is good quote to refer to when reflecting on lesson/lessons learned from conflict. The best-case scenario is when both parties learn and connect with one another after a conflict, however that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes what is learned the most from the conflict is insight into what you will and will not tolerate, what you are sensitive about and/or when to set limits with others. In other words, a conflict may end up being the only way you find out about someone’s character, commitment and skill set. Good or bad, insight into a situation or individual is vital for successful results, otherwise you will keep “going through the motions”.
To truly learn, connect and gain insight from a conflict, it is important to manage it in a positive light. Follow these rules of thumb to turn conflict into a positive experience for yourself:
- Avoid knee jerk reactions, take time to process before speaking or acting
- Do not engage through electronics (e.g. text message, email)
- Interact “face-to-face” (e.g. in person or video conference) to take note of body language and facial expression
- Assume the other person may be right and you are wrong
Overall, take ownership of your thoughts and feelings and actions instead of seeing them as being “caused” by another person, situation or experience. After all, the most innovative solutions often arise out of conflict. The workplace is an ever-changing environment constantly in need of improvement, innovation, growth, and group collaboration. Conflict is inevitable. The more we “embrace conflict”, the better we become at handling it, and the more successful we become as a result.
Learn How to Embrace Conflict with Fun Team Building
Larry Lipman of Fun Team Building will develop a customized team building day for your organization. Lean more about the individuals that work for you through team bonding games that embrace conflict to learn from one another and provide insight for successful team collaboration. Call Larry today at 770-333-3303.