Can conflict be the solution for transformation or is it the problem? What is conflict like to you? Do you feel afraid and freeze? Do you feel courageous and fight? We can’t ignore conflict as it shows up a lot in our lives. We can use conflict as the energy source for innovation, creativity and transformation at the workplace if we learn from it. Conflict is a human behaviour that can make or break the team.
What really creates conflict? Fast it happens in an organization setting. Organization being a group of more than one person coming together under a set culture to pursue a goal. In such a setting, frictions that build up to conflict are likely to arise from three key factors. First is unmet needs which can be physical, emotional, spiritual or psychological. Second is the difference in value systems as to to how things are done and how people behave. Thirdly limited resources; which maybe be money, time or property.
However we can deal with conflicts. Mostly we find people choose validation than confrontation, our brains take some short-cut unknowingly and we are always wired to favorably judge ourselves and harshly judge others. We need to be vulnerable, question the source, and teach habits for management of differences and understand that there is more than one way that is right.
Emotions, logic and empathy are equally important when we are resolving conflicts at any point of our lives. Emotions helps us identify where our deep value or need arises, logic help us identify the root of conflict and challenges they present and move towards a solution, and empathy ,helps us understand how others are affected and validate them for feeling that way.
Conflict is not the problem. The problem is when people choose to diffuse it rather than use it. In all aspects of our lives we can turn conflicts to profits, learn from it and make it the fuel that will drive change. Learn to handle and resolve conflict as a business leader, employer or employee.
By Effie Odhiambo | IGBR Columnist