By Kathleen Frascona, NCPM, MPD, CPE (1), ASM Plus Associate mediator, coach, life skills coach, anger and aggression management specialist, and keynote speaker.
Drawing on her 25 years’ experience as a dispute resolver, in this piece ASM Plus Associate Kathleen explains how to deal with workplace conflict situations positively and effectively.
Introduction – How many times have you been in conflict, bottled it up, and held it in? Co-worker, team leader, supervisor, boss/owner, client, contractor, company, board members—the list goes on. Feelings of anger, fear, disrespect, hurt, and frustration build up; leave us wondering which emotion is going to show up.
Conflict, when facilitated properly, can lead to communication which can lead to growth.
Conflict in the workplace has certain benefits that, initially, we don’t always see. Keep reading to find a few of them you might not have considered before.
- Conflicts make us aware of new ways to do things. The very fact that there is a conflict tells us that someone else has a different point of view. By exploring those conflicts, you are likewise invited to explore the idea from a new angle, and maybe see a new solution that wouldn’t have occurred previously.
- Conflict to Communication. Think of conflict as a way of being able to, with proper facilitation, genuinely express yourself, your concerns, and your view of the conflict that doesn’t easily come up at other times. It is in communicating through conflict that we decide what is important to us, and how to put those feelings into words. Keyword is Communication.
- Conflict drives flexibility. When we are in conflict, we are hoping for others to see our point of view. However, with conflict, we are forced to see the point of view of those around us. That is where we learn how to become flexible; to acknowledge that we are not always right. The conflict teaches us about perspective, being open-minded, understanding, getting creative, humility, working together, while understanding yourself and others. Conflict teaches communication.
- Conflict forces us to listen. The only way to resolve conflict is to listen openly, listen to hear and understand the other person. Through listening, we acquire wisdom and learn to collaborate.
- Conflict drives solutions. When you deal with conflict you are dealing with a problem that needs a solution. Resolving that conflict means finding those solutions, finding those solutions mean looking at the situation(s) with “new” eyes (new understanding) and working together to create innovative ways. Conflict, therefore, forces us to solve our problems creatively.
While initially you might shy away from the idea of conflict, keep this in mind: without conflict, we stagnate. Everything created has gone through some form of conflict, so, while it is hard to believe, there are benefits.
Contact ASM Plus to see how we can help you to communicate through conflict.
(1) US Nationally Certified Professional Mediator, Member of Prime Dispute and Certified Personality Evaluator