We tend to hold Conflict as a negative concept, and it brings up many emotions, the experience of which we would rather avoid. However, holding back on having crucial and essential conversations with others leads to increased stress, low morale, damaged relationships, decreases in engagement and productivity, and feelings of resentment or resignation.
Each of us responds to situations and circumstances differently, and life demands that we all become more effective at resolving conflict. We must begin by evaluating our own experiences and orientation to conflict. If we view conflict as healthy, as something manageable, and as an opportunity to promote cooperation, produce harmony, strengthen relationships and deliver outstanding results, then we grow our capacity to be more open and effective.
Results and Relationships are at stake, and yet we’re not required to sacrifice one for the benefit of the other. Thus, gaining an appreciation for individual styles, and reframing what can be perceived as CONfrontation as CAREfrontation (I care enough about you and the outcome to resolve this issue with you), translates to our being more intentional in our interactions with others, and everyone wins!
With insight into how we respond to and address conflict, we can then explore the value of our preferred conflict mode and evaluate specific situations in which an alternative mode may be preferred. Then, as we develop an appreciation for exercising our abilities in each mode a natural dialogue unfolds around interpersonal skills and the desire to seek win/win and collaborative solutions, putting both the relationship and our shared desire for a positive outcome, first.
Reframing Conflict allows individuals to gain an appreciation for, and practice:
- Personal styles of responding to and dealing with conflict (based on Thomas Kilmann’s work)
- The different conflict modes and the value of each
- How to respond to and address conflict based on the situation
- Honoring the emotions associated with conflict
- Conflict as not something to be wielded or feared, but rather viewed as an opportunity to build relationships and achieve outstanding results, together!