20 Nov 2018

How to Develop A Constructive Approach to Conflict

Have you noticed that most organisations are designed to thrive on competition?  In my experience this can often lead to situations of conflict.

You may be someone who avoids conflict wherever possible – and see conflict as a bad thing.  However, this suppresses your self-expression and freedom to operate.  As a result, you may stew on the conflict situation in which you did not allow yourself to speak up and perhaps sometimes you then demonstrate a less than useful behaviour - totally out of context and in a very different situation.  OR, you may be someone who responds from fear, frustration or anger and you direct approach can often land you in hot water.

So, is there any other way to respond?

What might a positive attitude to conflict look like?

Consider that in any conflict situation, there is a way of driving for the best solution.

What would it look like if you could say what you have to say in a way that the other person can hear you - and then you can move on without holding on to the conflict and letting it fester into resentment?  Would your mind then be free to focus on what there is to deal with in the present rather than bottle up emotions that do not support your objectives.

It may be useful for you to look at how you respond in conflict situations.  Are you someone who generally avoids, accommodates, compromises, competes or collaborates?

There is no right way to respond, but it is useful for you to develop an ability to respond with each of these different ways at choice rather than be thrown to one of them.  For example, when the conflict situation is not that important to you, it would be fine to avoid the conflict.  In a promotion situation, it would be useful to compete.  In many cases – especially where time is not critical, you might choose to collaborate, whereas when you are time bound with what looks like an impasse, you might compromise.  In a situation where you can achieve your outcome whilst providing what the other wants at no cost to you, you might accommodate.

Developing the dimensions in which you manage conflict will assist you in showing up as your authentic self and standing for your purpose, promise and proposition in the face of no-agreement.

This will be our Authentic You Community’s learning focus for Q1 2019.  In the meantime, I would love to hear your experiences…

  • What conflict situations have your found yourself in that worked well – and what did you do that made it successful?
  • What were the benefits of the approach you used?
  • Is there anything you would do differently?

Managing conflict is a fact of daily work and we all have to find strategies for making sure we can handle these situations in a constructive way.  Our community conversation in Q1 2019 will focus on understanding how we approach conflict, the impact it has on us and how we can apply new tools and strategies to ensure our success.


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