One of the more common definitions of conflict is that it is a clash between two (or more) opposing groups or that it is a power struggle or a battle between opposing forces.
When you think of conflict, you may think of it as a negative (think power struggle or battle) or you may think that it must always be about other people. Some of you may go as far as to believe that if it were not for other people you would never have to deal with conflict.
Today, I ask you to consider a few questions. Unless you decide to share this with other people, you are the only one who is going to know your answers.
1) What was the nature of the most recent conflict you faced? Or
What is a current conflict you are facing?
2) What is really causing the conflict?
a. You and another person have incompatible concerns or wishes?
b. You dont like how someone else is behaving?
c. You dont like how you are behaving?
d. You feel like you are being pushed in a direction that you do not like?
e. You feel like you are being pushed to make a decision you are not ready to make?
f. No it is something else!
3) Do you know how you want the conflict to be resolved? In other words, what do you want the outcome to be?
4) Is your desired outcome equitable to everyone or just to you?
OK, these four questions are enough for now. Do you see a common theme in the questions above? YOU are the common theme. I am asking you to really understand your part in the conflict. It is easy to blame a conflict on an external force (another person, an event beyond your control). But the reason you are experiencing conflict is because you are not reconciled with your role. It really is important for you to know the true nature of any conflict you are facing. Is it really about not wanting to work on project X or is it that you really wanted to be in charge of project X? Do you really not like working with John Doe or do you not like the fact that he brings out the worst in you?
There can be plenty to think about. It is well worth the time. As you become more aware of what causes you to feel conflicted, you will become more aware of the best way to handle yourself when you experience conflict. Remember, you cannot control the actions of others; you can only control your own actions.
Now, look in the mirror. See that fabulous face staring back at you? That my friend is the face of conflict. That is OK, you will face conflict everyday. Once you become comfortable with conflict and with what causes you conflict and how you want to handle that conflict, that face looking back at you should be all smiles.