“Why is he/she fighting me on this?”…“How come every time he/she opens his/her mouth, I get aggravated?”…”I’m right darn it! Why can’t he/she understand that?!”… I’ve heard variations of these questions posed many times over the years. Heck, I’ve been known to ask them myself. The answers to these, and every other conflict-related question, are actually very simple. However, putting them into practice during our daily interactions proves to be quite challenging; complicated even.
I’m going out on a limb here, and submitting that most of you recognize ongoing, festering conflict in the workplace is damaging. It slows productivity, kills employee morale, increases turnover, and puts a hurting on customer service. Ongoing conflict is costly. However, for some reason, most employers and employees sweep it under the rug. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “we don’t have conflict, we are like family.” Really? Oh sure, we all know there is no conflict within families…
The truth is, conflict is COMPLETELY normal and, if dealt with effectively, actually makes organizations and interpersonal relationships stronger. Unfortunately, it seems more often than not, the “effectively” adverb is left out.
Today I am tossing a few tried and true tidbits your way. You may not like this information. It may make you feel uncomfortable. You may even aggressively reject it. None-the-less I am going to hand it to you to ponder, consider, maybe even practice. I already know all of your arguments against these tips – I’ve made them myself many times. But the truth is the truth, so here it goes:
When humans successfully evaluate, investigate, and apply the above, the opportunities hidden within conflict show up, and the potentially damaging ramifications dissipate. Effectively navigating through conflict can be as simple as that, and it works like magic. Remember I said it is simple, NOT easy. It takes loads of practice, trial and error, self-patience, and perseverance. However, the better YOU get at it, the more “magically” situations transform for the better.
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