Is conflict ever good?

Actually I believe it is, whether in a business or personal context! As long as there are no unhealthy, manipulative, unhealthy behaviours at play, there are many advantages to conflict and I’ve outlined a few reasons below:

  • Conflict can create understanding and intimacy. Perhaps there have been assumptions and judgements made that are not accurate. When these come to head, these can be resolved
  • It may lead to a new way of doing something –this could be how you organise your work, your work-life balance, lead your team – it paves the way for something new
  • It deals with built up resentments. Resentment can really build up and up. We all tolerate certain issues to an extent. It’s actually healthy to nip these in the bud and address them as they happen otherwise the person at the other end won’t know what’s hit them, and as a reasonable adult, it should be perfectly doable to share your frustrations in an adult way. But if not, then conflict may deal with these as well
  • Don’t mix the person with the problem – I believe people don’t always set out to rub others up the wrong way. If there is an issue you are consistently coming up against – it’s may not be the behaviour at fault and in fact, the behaviour that leads to conflict – should be separated from the actual underlying problem is
  • Difficult issues can be aired. Once they are aired the issues are less of a threat as you will know where you stand and where the other person stands

The other person must be willing to resolve the conflict, however. Are you both on the same page? Have you agreed what the underlying issue is before you try and resolve it? Have you agreed on a plan A and plan B to resolve it? Have you summarised your discussion and what will happen to fix it? Can you fix it? Or does it mean someone needs to leave the organisation or a relationship?

Whatever you do, agree what the issue is, step up, be an adult and own your part. Listen attentively and avoid accusing the other person as they will just shut down and nothing gets resolved. Try and put yourself in the other person’s shoes rather than defending yourself. You may learn something new.

For further information on conflict coaching, team coaching, executive and personal coaching contact me at sarah@sarah-j.com