Personally, I grew up around a number of people who weren't shy about mixing it up. As a kid, I concluded that the more you fought, the more you just didn't get along. So why spend time together? Then I experienced situations where conflict was avoided at all cost; nothing was ever discussed and feelings were bottled up to the point where deep-seated, silent resentment would set like cement. From there, I started to realize that conflict is communication, and it can be healthy, productive communication as long as you have two important dynamics at work:
- It's not personal. You argue about the topic rather than attack one another.
- That the conflict is not about winning or losing, but about reaching the best solution and sharing credit for the result.
Now think about the role conflict plays in your professional life. Can you openly disagree with colleagues to reach solutions that benefit your client? Do you and your client trust each other enough to discuss real or perceived differences in a timely fashion? And when you do, is the relationship helped or hurt?
I'd love to hear your thoughts about conflict - whether you disagree with me or not!
*Image from fatwaitress.com who suggests that Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots may be the answer. Who could argue with that?