Learn what the old view of conflict is and why people avoid it. In this video, Marlene Chism challenges the old view of conflict and helps you see it as an opportunity for growth.
- Conflict, whether at home or in the workplace, is just a part of life. And we all deal with conflict differently. Some of us avoid conflict at all costs, and other of us deny ever having any conflict. Then there are those who think they're great at it, but they're perceived as harsh and lacking compassion. I think the struggle we have with conflict has to do in part with how we define and how we view conflict. Without a conscious awareness, we tend to view conflict as a win-lose situation.
It's my way or the highway, or it's her way or nothing at all. Personal: he or she wronged me. Or even a prolonged power struggle with one or more people, whether it be a constant fight or a daily struggle. One moment on the defensive, and the next to on the offensive. And you know, this notion of conflict isn't entirely wrong. If we look at the definition of conflict, we read that it's a serious disagreement or an argument, typically long lasting.
No wonder most of us struggle with conflict. Who in their right mind would volunteer for a long lasting argument or disagreement? That doesn't sound like much fun. But I wanna challenge that. What if we saw conflict as an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, a chance to increase understanding, and a method of achieving the mission? If we view conflict through these lenses, then we can address the situation sooner and with more ease.
Little while back I worked with an executive who was avoiding a performance conversation with his marketing manager. From his point of view, his marketing manager kept undermining his authority. She would go above his head to his boss to get her requests filled instead of coming directly to him. In fact, he noticed a budding friendship developing between his marketing manager and his own boss. The executive took it personally. In his mind, he was in a three-way power struggle between his direct report and his own boss.
It really affected him to the point that his own productivity suffered. So can you guess what his solution was? He was planning on firing the marketing manager. He saw no other option. Can you see the win-lose thinking here? After some coaching, I helped this executive see the situation for what it was: an opportunity for his personal growth and a chance to bring clarity about everyone's roles and responsibilities. Most of all, it was a way for this leader to realign everyone to the real mission of the organization through the power of a difficult conversation.
In the end, the executive initiated two difficult conversations: one with his own boss and one with his marketing manager. He realized this important truth. If you aren't having some conflict, it probably means you aren't really growing. Conflict is going to happen, but with the right mindset and the right skills, we can use conversation to quickly course correct and get back to business.
- Understand why conversations go badly
- Define the influence of power structures and patterns in a difficult conversation
- Identify observable behaviors and use them to focus on facts and on how behaviors affect the business
- Control the direction of a conversation
- Build a blueprint from which to structure a conversation
- Identify and prepare for resistance during a difficult conversation
- Identify the conversational choices available to you when others resist your efforts