Conflict (part 1)

“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.” –William James

I don’t think there’s too many of us who wake up every morning hungry for a bowl of crunchy conflict. We don’t thrive in conflict (unless you work in a collections department) and would rather avoid at almost all cost. So, when is conflict okay and how can we avoid it?

1.Be honest. If you want a great way to avoid conflict just be honest with people. The trick sometimes is how to be honest. Here are a few things to avoid:
a. If you’re feeling a little heated about something—wait to cool down.
b. Be careful on your responses to emails. Sometimes it’s best to just talk face to face because if you’re responding to something that has the potential to create or continue conflict your innocent email can be negatively read.
c. If you want to avoid conflict, think about what you want to say before you say it. If you have a close, trusted friend it wouldn’t hurt to bounce what you want to say off that person and receive feedback.
2. Conflict can be okay. Often times a little bit of conflict can bring two parties closer together. It’s through these times that you learn a little more about the other and creates a closer bond and trust amongst each other.
3. Choose your battles. Some things in life just aren’t worth conflict, but other things are worth fighting for—worth the conflict. Take time to decide what things you really want to fight for.
4. Get clarity. Before I allow conflict I try to get clarity about the potential conflict first. Once I receive the facts one of two things usually happen. 1) I either find out there really is no conflict because I was able to clear things up with receiving the right information or 2) The information I received didn’t line up and now I have to address the issue. If I address the issue with facts that support my point, the conflict usually won’t last long. It all comes down to communication.

Dealing with conflict can all go back to the quote above. Conflict can be squelched or flamed by how we approach it with our attitude. A humble spirit can get you farther than you think.

How do you deal with conflict? Do you try to avoid it at all cost? Do you get run over when you do?


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