Isn’t Conflict Exciting?

Conflict And Solution Tex - Business Concepts

Thinking about conflict gets me energized!

Yes, you are probably thinking I’m odd right now…and let me tell you what’s happening for me. As a consultant and coach, I recognize that I have an unusual ability (perhaps it’s a gift) to hold space for healthy conflict to happen.

I’ve been doing research and a great deal of thinking about conflict. It’s very expensive to Canadian Business with an estimated cost of $161 Billion annually. Leaders avoid it, team members avoid it and a lot of needed information is left unshared. It’s an epidemic in our organizations!

Yet, so many books are written on it, Crucial Conversations, Dealing with Difficult Conversations; to name a few. What’s getting in the way of engaging in conflict or even embracing conflict?

One of the key things from my research and reflection is that we are struggling with conflict because we all believe the 160-year old definition – that conflict is a lose-win or lose-lose scenario. Carl Marx proposed that there were an inherent inequality and high potential for loss in any conflict. Yet, here we are in Canada in 2018 and the assumption is no longer accurate.

You see, using this definition, we hold back sharing honest information as our subconscious tells us we are at risk. We make an assumption and it’s below our consciousness.

We are no longer living in a landowner; servant society. In Canada, we have laws that protect employees, yet we continue to act like conflict can kill or seriously harm us.

Next time you have a conflict arise (even what’s been called a difficult conversation) ask yourself,

“Am I really at risk?”

Chances are that the risks of embracing the conversation are very low, while the benefits of exploring the differences are huge.

In my experience, as a co-worker and as a consultant, each time I have embraced conflict and had the conversation, I have ended up with a closer relationship, a better solution and getting better results.

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