“Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace among it.”

Conflict is what we all see as the storm.  Leaders ask me how they can eliminate conflict.  I ask, “Why would you want to eliminate it?”

Conflict, in and of itself is good. Conflict means you have people thinking.  It means you have divergent opinions and insights.  It means people are breathing!!

The problem isn’t conflict.  Any organization worth it’s salt needs conflict.  The problem is how we handle conflict- do you use it to build bridges or to wash them out?

Conflict is character building.

  • It require grace to see another person’s point of view.
  • It requires humility to admit when you are wrong.
  • It causes your brain to make mistakes and then learn from them.
  • It requires honest insight to look into what you meant in what you said or thought.

So teach your team how to have healthy conflict discussions.  Here are couple of quick tips to help you along:

1. Handle it right away.  Don’t let something fester and grow as it only gets worse and for the other person, if you let it slide once, that means it is acceptable.  So when you come back later and tell them it is not acceptable, they see you as being “picky” or “changing the rules.”

2. If you aren’t emotionally ready, tell the person you need to talk to them about it but right now is not the appropriate time.

3. Be open to other view points.  Your view may be as warped as theirs is so don’t go in thinking you have the right answer.

4. Recognize that you probably only have 30% of the facts and the rest is the “story” you made up based on the little facts you have.  Really it is probably more opinion and assumption as fact.

5. Try to get all the facts on the table so you can look at them together.  Find out the “why” behind their opinions and ideas.

Every great relationship you have was built some what on the conflicts you went through together and the bridges you built.  So don’t be afraid of conflict but instead embrace it! Remember there is a certain beauty in the eye of the storm.