Whenever I ask “Who loves conflict?” most eyes shift to the floor. Conflict avoidance is so commonplace in many businesses today, it is an integral part of the culture. Some companies proudly declare that they have a cautious, conservative, risk-averse culture as a strategy to mitigate discord. Whatever the reason, individuals, teams, or organizations that do not effectively embrace conflict eventually become stalled, stuck, or derailed.
Wading into conflict usually seems risky, but the rewards of effectively managing it far outweigh the downside. It is amazing how quickly you can defuse intense emotions as long as you are able to not take anything personally.
Don’t focus on needing to engage your ego in a win/lose, zero sum gain struggle. Rather, I invite you to observe conflict’s “How, Why, What, Where, and When.” Conflicts are always disguised as objections – which are wonderful to uncover as they pave the way to enhanced performance.
- Be insatiably curious as to what unmet needs are present and unspoken. Ask how things emerged, why they continue to exist, or what underlying issues trigger people losing their cool.
- Redefine conflict from being something to be avoided to being an opportunity to collaboratively reach an optimal solution.
- Visualize your team’s relationships being much stronger, not weaker, after the root cause of the conflict is unpacked, understood, and appreciated.
Today, be courageous.
Learn to love conflict in order to advance your team’s effectiveness.
Next time when asked – declare boldly, “I love conflict!”
Written By: Clyde Lowstuter