Facing conflict head on may, on first sight seem a foolish strategy…
However, it does not mean picking a fight with the next person who irritates us. Nor does the alternative mean putting our heads in the sand. Rather, it means becoming equipped to address the issues that the conflict situation brings up in a measured and even strategic way that can ultimately create wins for us and the other person. Where we can do this we are likely to:
- get a better result from the situation itself
- be regarded as more effective managers and leaders
- create a solution that we may have thought impossible
The conflict is not the problem……
The starting point is to not change the situation or the other person but rather our mindset. Conflict can be can be quite simply distilled as where I disagree with with you. When we see it in this way, we become more accepting of it. We recognise is much more as a part of the everyday work environment. In fact, we start to realise that it is at the essence of a creative environment where everyone has different and equally valuable ideas.
… our reaction to it can be
Because of the strong feelings conflict can evoke, we can feel ashamed or frightened of conflict. So, the challenge is much more about how we respond or react to conflict than the conflict itself. This in turn can quickly cause us to become overtaken by our emotions or ego with the following consequences:
- We become depressed, anxious or unable to sleep
- Our behaviour becomes reactive more out of control
- Our thinking becomes more foggy about the issues at play and what we want to do about them.
Facing work conflict head on makes us better at dealing with it
Once we have acknowledged our conflict situation, we can start to think through:
- What do I want as a result of this situation?
- How might that be achieved?
- What might the other person want?
How might that also be achieved?
- We can also start to think about:
- What do I want to communicate with the other person, and
- How do I want to communicate it
- Do I need any help?
All these things may happen before we engage with the other person to ensure that when we do we are closer to a successful result.