Conflict is not bad. Repeat. Conflict is not bad. Repeat. Conflict is not bad.
I have a tendency to avoid conflict. I avoid conflict and then it starts to haunt me, comes back to rest on my soul, causes pressure until eventually I have to deal with it and by that time it is an ugly giant beast. It is much easier to slay conflict when it is a small little creature to deal with. Usually a word or two will cause conflict to shrink away, in a phrase, if you want to fan the flames of conflict then ignore it. The best word to describe this is the word, fester. If you ignore a conflict, it will absolutely fester. It is just not going to go away, it is only going to get worse. So why, oh, why do I let conflict fester?
Better to hit conflict right between the eyes and to do it quickly and be done. When you see a conflict arise, it is best to gather together all the parties involved and have it out. Hiding details of someone’s concern never benefits anyone. You have to recognize whey conflict exists, get to an understanding and not necessarily a favorable outcome. Huh? That is right – not all conflict needs to be solved. You see, in my opinion, putting a spotlight on conflict is a way to cause it to diminish. Conflict will lose power and reduce in intensity when it is put under scrutiny. Conflict always seems worst when it is far away, undisclosed, and discreet.
Conflict is like a tropical storm, that grows slowly and gains strength as opposing forces circle each other and feed off each other. The storm gain strength and volume until pretty soon it is a destructive and impossibly large force of powerful destruction. Once it reaches a certain point, the only thing that will slow it down is a large mass of earth which usually means devastation is on the menu. Unlike a tropical storm, a conflict can be seen quickly and can be stopped before it every can build up to category 5. This is what it means to embrace conflict.
When you see the conflict coming, quickly, discover the conflict and get people talking openly about it. This will reduce the power and intensity because the opposing forces will not be circling each other feeding off of each other’s energy. They will have to stop what they are doing, slow down, consider their emotions, and talk about the conflict in an open way. Even if the conflict remains unresolved, you now have the conflicting parties at least acknowledging the rationale behind why the conflict exists in the first place. This allows them to understand the reason for the behavior of the other party, which is probably the single best piece of detail that has the most impact on why a conflict grows out of control. If you knew what your enemy was thinking, you probably will realize that their intention was not as sinister as you originally thought.
To expand the issue to another level is to start to consider that conflict is good. Embracing conflict can help you in many areas. The first and foremost is that if you are experiencing conflict you are probably doing something that is threatening to others. This can be a good sign if you are trying to secure a position, or win more influence. If you are experiencing more conflict, happy day, that means that you are heading in the right direction! The second is that conflict allows us to grow close together as people and not farther apart. It is festering silence and brooding ignorance that causes people to fall apart. Open conflict, expressed clearly, is healthy and allows for a reconciliation which almost always produce better results in relationships. Conflict among members of a team, if dealt with in a healthy manner, quickly and early will also build bonds and cause the teammates to rely on each other, to understand each others motives and intent which will ultimately speed up everything you do.
Nobody likes conflict, we all generally want to avoid it. However, I have noticed that shedding light on issues produces much better results then hiding them away in darkness. So come out of the dark, stand in the light and embrace conflict.