Unless you are ready to move to a deserted island where no human will ever have a relationship with you again, you might as well get used to the idea that conflict is coming.
I have the type of personality that despises conflict. I would much rather everyone always get along happily with no miscommunications, no confusion, and no conflicting ideas. What a boring world that would be.
There is no way to escape conflict. We all have different ideas, ideals, and motivations. The Bible says that every man’s way is right in his own eyes. When you get two men together there is going to be two ways of accomplishing the same task. Given enough time, there will be a solid disagreement as to how to accomplish the task in the best way possible.
I have experienced conflict in the home and conflict in the work place. Some of the conflict came because of something I said or did. Some of the conflict came because of things others said or did. Either way, there was conflict and it has an effect on people.
Here are the three very powerful skills that, if perfected, can lead to happy life at home and work. When you learn how to effectively deal with conflict it doesn’t seem like such a tall mountain to climb.
A lot of times we worry about facing the conflict because we think it will hurt someone’s feelings or that the situation will blow up. But, much of the time, allowing conflict to fester without admitting there is a problem will allow those feelings to grow and get stronger. The future conflict is usually much worse than the initial conflict.
For some of us, admitting there is a conflict is the last resort and we want to act like there isn’t a problem so we can stave off the inevitable clash.
The first skill we must perfect is the skill to see things the way they really are. That means admitting the truth even if it is unpleasant. And that means admitting that there is conflict that needs to be dealt with.
Skill 2: Keeping the communication lines open regardless of feelings or conflict.
I had a minister friend I was talking to about married life, this was before I was married, and he was speaking about fighting. He told me that he and his wife had a rule in fighting that their families were off limits. Even in their worst fights they resisted the temptation to jump into the faults of each other’s family.
As simple as this sounds, it is very powerful. Setting ground rules for conflict is a good practice. Set it as a personal principle and it will help you in conflict even in the workplace.
Conflict will never be resolved when the communication lines shut down. At least one of the parties has to have the principle to continue the communication or bring in a third party to act as a mediator.
Skill 3: Keep your relationships in the right perspective
In the heat of anger most people are ready to make whatever sacrifices needed to satisfy that anger. In marriage conflict, during the heat of anger, divorce can be the outcome simply because of the need to cause pain to satisfy the anger.
In most situations people say things they don’t mean all trying to pour salve on their anger and their pride. However, this type of conflict resolution will always end with someone, or both parties, being hurt. It will tear apart relationships and make cohabitation impossible.
I have left a job I loved before because of someone, higher up the influence ladder, who had the inability to prioritize his relationship with me. We were both good at our jobs and we both helped each other a lot. But when he didn’t get his perfect way he would lash out at whoever was around.
I just happened to be in the closest office and had the most interactions. I realized if I didn’t want to spend every day at work angry I would have to leave or risk blowing up and ruining my reputation. So I left.
Was it the smartest thing to do? Probably not. But it’s a good example of the kind of impact conflict can have on individuals if not handled properly.
- It can make working together impossible.
- It can make productivity go down.
- It can amplify hurt feelings and magnify pride.
- It can destroy a good team atmosphere
- It can tear friends and families apart.
Conflict is only as big as the people who experience it. Learn to handle it and master the skills needed to slay the dragon of conflict.