I reckon conflict gets a bad rap.
I reckon that conflict is a word that is regularly misunderstood.
People tell me that they think I’ve made a mistake having ‘conflict’ in my business name – too negative they say. People don’t like conflict, they say.
They’re right, many people don’t like conflict. They run away from it; avoid it. They handle it badly. They tolerate inappropriate behaviour because they don’t want a scene. They don’t want to upset anyone.
But what they miss out on when they avoid conflict is opportunity.
They miss the opportunity:
- To learn more about themselves and how they deal with what might be a difficult situation
- To learn and develop new skills
- To learn more about their business, their staff and their industry
- To find out more about the gaps in people’s knowledge and to understand the increased risks that the business may face as a result of the unresolved conflict
- For innovation – because the outcome of a conflict might lead to different and new thinking about a problem
- To do the more appropriate thing; that might be the more ethical approach
If we approach conflict as an opportunity rather than a problem; we stop being so scared of it. We recognise that it is just information. Sometimes it is telling us that there is something wrong but it might be telling us that we are on the verge of some significant development or growth.
We can do something about a problem if we acknowledge it and find out more about what caused it. If we are curious.
But the problem will, without a shadow of a doubt, only get worse if it is ignored or played down as not being an issue.
More often than not you will discover that there is a miscommunication or that a situation has been misread. And sometimes you will decide to end a relationship (work or personal) and that’s okay too.
Don’t be afraid of conflict. Embrace it. Engage with it. Explore it. Learn from it. Manage it. And reap the incredible rewards from not feeling afraid so much of the time.