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Soft Skills

Conflict Too Has a Positive Spin

Conflict is neither good nor bad.

However, many of us consider it negative. But if you look at it through an optimistic approach, you’ll notice that it has a positive spin. If you use it rather than diffusing it, it triggers creativity, innovation, and transformation. 🌈

How conflict arises?

Conflict arises when people from different diversities coexist. When their way of life or thought clashes, conflict takes place. I’ll explain this with an example.

For instance, you have an incredible vision and to accomplish it you need a smart team. For this, you appoint outstanding, result-driven and passionate people as a part of your team. But, eventually, all these people being intellectual have a difference of opinions and these opinions are backed by strong emotions. They all are passionate about your vision, they strongly put forward their opinions that create a clash of thoughts – Indirectly triggering a conflict situation. The vision stays aside and conflict takes the centre.

Now let’s see, how people deal with conflict?

People generally don’t like conflict. So most of us either avoid it or deal with it aggressively. Both these reactions are natural but they both have negative consequences.

BTW, we happen to have some great examples of leaders who knew exactly how to deal with conflict – read the full blog here.

1. By avoiding conflict

Here you suppress your anger and surrender by agreeing to your opponent’s opinion. The disadvantage with this method is that you restrain your creativity and due to this it never comes to the table.

2. By reacting aggressively.

This is a very maladaptive method. Initially, people avoid conflicts and they suppress it, but they eventually realize that by suppression they limit their progress. So they tend to adopt an aggressive way of dealing with conflict in order to grow. But this technique too has limitations because when you get aggressive the other person gets immediately defensive. Sometimes people avoid you or they neglect you. This restricts your interaction with other people.

How conflict should be handled to trigger creativity, transformation, and innovation?

According to Henry Ford – American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company believes, “Conflict is inevitable and inescapable.” If managed properly, conflict can become a strong business opportunity.

Here are 5 ways to transform conflict into opportunity:

1. Keep an open mindset.

Keep an open-door policy for conflicts. Entertain them, welcome them and transform them. Allow people to share their viewpoints and take them into consideration – they might come handy, you never know.

2. Approach a conflict situation with a positive attitude.

Keep an optimistic approach when there is an opinion clash. Conversation with your counterpart is helpful to find a solution for resolving it. Therefore, if you avoid or react aggressively it makes it worse. Only find the right time and place to discuss it. Keeping a window open for discussion makes the opposite person comfortable to interact with you.

This is a first and vital step.                                                                                                 

3. Identify issues and deal with it like a team.

Unresolved conflicts create an unproductive environment. People avoid each other, some get stressed up or sometimes their emotions rise up when provoked. Hence, it is necessary to find the cause of the conflict and resolve it like a team keeping egos aside.

4. Respect others and their opinion.

Remember, it’s a gateway towards finding a new opportunity. Therefore, respect the opinion of the opposite person. Transform conflict into a healthy discussion or a brainstorming session to find solutions together.

5. Treat conflict like a source of opportunity.

The conflict has an energy that may open up a new opportunity if resolved properly. When you respect the opposite person’s opinion, you allow that person to share a new idea which may open up new horizons.

Therefore, when treated as an opportunity, conflict becomes a resource that creates a positive transformation.

Ace conflict management, create a thriving work environment! Know more about this here.

Mr. Nitin Shende is a Subject matter expert in Project Management with more than 31 years of global experience. He is a member of Standard & PMBOK guide Sixth edition content and SME member for PMBOK guide Fifth edition.