Finding the opportunity in conflict

September 15, 2019 Sandra Dawes

I recently published a podcast episode where I chatted with Lynne Hurdle, a conflict resolution strategist. We spoke about the fact that while many of us prefer to avoid conflict, there are opportunities to be found in its resolution. You can check out the episode here.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the conflict and forget that there may actually be a solution to the issue. Instead of focusing on a resolution, we often take things personally, get defensive and can end up feeling hopeless. When this happens, we have to take a moment, step back and ask ourselves, what outcome do we want from this situation and what can we do to help us get there?

Focusing on the outcome we want instead of the issue itself, can help us gain clarity on the solution. It’s important to speak with everyone involved with the intention of listening to understand, not to respond. If we want to truly understand everyone’s point of view, then we have to hear them out, whether we agree with what they are saying or not.

When we understand everyone’s perspective and what outcome they are looking for then we can work together to find a solution that is agreeable to everyone involved. It will take compromise and understanding, but it is possible.  Everyone involved needs to be willing to work together to find a solution regardless of personal feelings, something that many of us struggle with.

Conflict happens for a reason. It means that something needs to change in order to bring back some semblance of balance. Resolving a conflict rarely means going back to the way things were before. Finding a solution requires change and that can be a difficult thing for people to wrap their heads around.

As much as we may not like change, it is a necessary part of life. It challenges us to grow and do things in ways we never done them before. It asks us to step outside our comfort zone in order to learn a new way of doing things.

I used to avoid conflict at all costs. It took a long time to realize that avoiding conflict never resolved anything. It just allowed things to fester for longer than they needed to. Energy and time that could have been used in a more productive way was wasted on focusing on the problem and who was “to blame” instead of looking at ways to resolve the issue.

I now realize that while dealing with a conflict head-on may be challenging at times, it’s worth it in the end. When a solution can be found that is a win-win for everyone involved, it’s worth it. It’s going to take patience, understanding and a willingness to compromise from all parties involved to come to an agreement that everyone feels good about and that’s okay! At the end of the day when you can resolve a problem in a way that meets everyone’s needs, it makes the time and effort spent worthwhile.

march, 2021

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