Do you run or do you fight? Conflict, or more specifically our ability to be with it and navigate it, comes up again and again in every relationship, in every family, in every team. I’m a runner — my natural instinct is to withdraw until the storm has brewed over — and it’s taken me years to see the value of conflict and embrace it as necessary to my growth and that of the team. Other personalities have an appetite for conflict, or at least don’t shy away from it, but their learning is to realise and mitigate the impact of their anger or forthrightness.
Without conflict we stay in the polite stage of things with people. Everyone is on their best behaviour but this is dull and generates nothing because we are not coming out with what we really think and feel. When people start listening to themselves and finding their own voice, conflict is possible. But people also get real and authentic with each other. This not only makes things more interesting, it allows people to show up with all of themselves and ultimately contributes to a richer quality of being — and of course, a high performing team.
Here is my check list for when I see a storm on the horizon:
- be willing to go into conflict
- be willing to “see” and “be seen” (see the other person’s point of view; speak up for my own point of view)
- let go of being right and of what happened in the past
- focus on a solution or a way forward