This month, we focus our content on conflict in the workplace. You might be surprised to learn that as much as 25% of your workday is spent dealing with conflict. Why is conflict so prevalent in our lives? Find the answer in this YouTube clip.
Sylvia takes in-depth look at the topic of conflict with an insightful Q&A.
If you had to identify a primary source of workplace conflict, what would that be?
I think one major source of conflict in the workplace is the notable differences in personalities.
Often, instead of appreciating and valuing these differences, people find them annoying, frustrating, and downright problematic. There is a part of each of us deep inside that wants everyone to be just like us. Things would be so much simpler, wouldn’t they? And yet, it is those fundamental personality differences that not only make life richer but also help us to see situations more clearly and comprehensively.
Many think conflict is a bad thing, but if channeled properly, it can be a source of release and actually help to improve a relationship or skill set. Do you have any advice for approaching conflict in this manner?
Many of us initially view conflict as a bad thing because we’ve adopted the mindset of our parents and others who raised us. We believe and think and act in alignment with what we saw modeled to us during those very impressionable years. The good thing is that WE get to change that. We don’t have to be stuck with all that baggage. We can shift our negative mindset about conflict to one that is more open to the possibilities that conflict can bring: opportunity to learn, opportunity to deepen relationships, opportunity to understand a situation from a different angle, opportunity to work through something challenging. Conflict doesn’t have to be bad or scary. Conflict can be a wonderful gift just waiting to be received. It’s all a matter of how you view it.
How can an executive coach help in matters of conflict?
An executive coach can teach clients how to approach conflict in a creative way that brings people to reasonable, viable, win-win solutions. Not surprisingly, many folks don’t know how to do this. The coach also can guide clients through role play of various real life situations that currently involve conflict—or may involve conflict in the future. Role play is especially beneficial, because the coaching venue is a totally confidential, emotionally safe environment that allows people to explore options and to listen to how they sound BEFORE they enter into live conversations where a lot is at stake.
Do you have anything else you would like to add on this topic?
People may want to start thinking about conflict as an opportunity to communicate with others on a deeper level—a level that opens the door to establishing real connections if both parties are amenable to it. In this era of so much superficial communication (texting, emails, voice messaging, instant messaging, etc.) many of us have lost the ability to truly connect with another human being. Perhaps some of us never had that ability in the first place. Whatever the case, know that conflict requires people to actually talk with each other…I mean really talk. And it is through those meaningful conversations that authentic relationships and connections are built.
Learn more about the topic of conflict in the most recent Launching Lives E-zine.