Too often, the word conflict is applied to a situation where what’s actually happening is disagreement, or missing information, a misunderstanding, or someone is under pressure and trying to resolve their stress. This is not really conflict.
Conflict is a word of war. A conflict is a battle, a fight, a struggle. It implies enemies, hostility, and threat. When you see something as a conflict, your body and psyche respond by going into defense mode.
Defense mode is great when you are threatened with death, bodily harm or great loss. Otherwise, it pretty much doesn’t work.
A common conflict management strategy is to try to avoid it by not saying anything, only communicating via text or email (how’s that working for you?), or dealing with it through other people.
The problem is, the cost of avoidance is high. It slows down productivity in a myriad of ways. Plus, you now have all this unresolved emotion and thought energy occupying your mind with one-sided conversations expressing what you would really like to say to the other person.
All this stress takes a toll on your personal health and wellbeing, and it costs businesses millions of dollars in lost productivity.
WHAT TO DO? REFRAME IT
A great first step in diminishing conflict is to reframe your point of view. Stop seeing it as conflict.
To get a sense of how powerful words are, say out loud, or to yourself, “I’m in conflict with ____(name of appropriate person)__.” Notice how you feel in your body saying this. Now say, “____(name)____ and I are not aligned.” How did that feel?
I’ll bet my upcoming vacation they feel different.
Next time you are in a conflict with someone, try reframing it as a misalignment or a situation that’s in need of something. There will have to be conversation(s) in order to resolve the issue(s), and that’s a topic for another day. But, if you approach those situations with a attitude that it’s not a conflict, it will affect your whole demeanor – tone of voice, body language, and the energy you bring to the situation. This is turn, will make it a lot easier for others to receive what you have to say.