There is A LOT to say about workplace conflict and the best way to navigate it. I could also name at least ten myths about what it means. I want to highlight what I’ve heard over and over from my clients (and personal experience) and narrow it down to¬†three.

1. All Conflict Is Negative

  • Well, that can’t be farther from the truth.¬†¬†It’s the opposite; it’s essential and can be a real catalyst for growth. Over the years, we’ve¬†been taught¬†that conflict is inherently¬†bad and should¬†be avoided¬†at all costs.(maybe that was just my family), Having ifficult and often awkfard conversations leads to fewer assumptions, misunderstandings, and tension.
  • Conflict can be a¬†healthy¬†part of any team when we recognize our responses and how we interact with others. Everyone has something valuable to offer, and when recognized, trust begins to strengthen. In ‚ÄúThe 5 Dysfunctions of a Team”, Patrick Lencioni emphasizes the need to leverage trust. He believes that an absence of trust is the most severe dysfunction that a team can have.

¬†2. There’s Always A Winner and Loser In Conflict

  • Another misconception is that someone always needs to “give up” something or compromise their values to resolve the issue or de-escalate.
  • Make it clear what you want the outcome to be and what they can expect from you. When managed well, conflicts can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes, where everyone involved gains something

 3. Only Difficult People Cause Conflict

  • 🙄 Nope, not true. The idea here is that you will always have tension if you don’t get along with this person or they don’t like you. There will¬†always¬†be personality clashes. Again, the more you understand your communication style and how that person prefers to¬†be communicated¬†with, the better.
  • Identify your working “style.” Some people work best under pressure, and some need the¬†structure of a deadline. In other words, if you complete something in 15 minutes and it takes 2 hours, it doesn’t mean they are difficult.

Guess what?¬†You¬†don’t always¬†have¬†the¬†right¬†answers, and it‚Äôs okay. Leverage the strengths, ¬†¬†not create barriers.

 

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