Conflict is never just between two parties. There is always a ripple effect, and the longer it goes unresolved, the greater that ripple becomes. Since we are people with differing personalities, backgrounds, and communication styles, it is a given there will always be conflict.
This is what I refer to as “the elephant in the room.” You know what I’m talking about right? Those times when those involved act like everything is fine, even though it’s quite apparent to everyone else all is not fine. The people having the conflict avoid each other like the plague, and when they do have to interact, it’s like a blast from the polar vortex was sent through the work area!
Try these tips to help you redirect conflict into collaborative and productive discussions:
- Choose to view conflict as neither negative nor positive. Conflict doesn’t have emotions tied to it, good or bad. Conflict simply signifies there are differences of perspective that need to be discussed further.
- Talk frequently with your staff how conflict can help you explore new possibilities vs. looking for a right or wrong solution.
- Lead by example to address the elephant in the room right away. Everyone can see it anyway. When your staff sees you are willing to explore someone else’s concerns and ideas, they will be more likely to follow suit.
Instead of avoiding discussions with people who think differently than us, let’s decide to use those differences to make us more effective in our work. It’s the culmination of our differences that makes us uniquely positioned to stand out from our competitors and align more closely with our customers!