“A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.” – Ken Blanchard
Until recently, I always considered conflict as a very negative situation to avoid at all costs. But then, while listening to a podcast, I heard of “Next Element”, and a book entitled ‘Conflict without Casualties’ by Nate Regier.
Regier points out that conflict actually creates energy. Unfortunately, it usually creates negative energy or drama. Drama diverts energy into gossip, finger-pointing, and self-justification.
The mishandling of conflict from leadership creates a culture of distrust, limited communication, and worst of all, destroys teamwork. Within the team, the negative energy of drama becomes destructive gossip. This dynamic creates a force of division rather than unity which will destroy the business. Product development or services will suffer. Leadership and administration will be so occupied with immediate problems that no attention will be spent addressing the business’s market position and growth. The drama created will suck the energy and life out of the team. Key employees and leaders will get tired and leave. Customers will not get the level of goods or services they expect and they will go to the competition. The business will lose money and eventually die.
But this same energy can be channeled with compassion. The word compassion originates from the Latin root meaning “co-suffering”. To come alongside, “with” or together”. The key is to struggle with one another, not against one another.
Compassion is the result of us taking ownership of our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
There will always be problems within any organization, team or business. There are no perfect people or teams. High-performance organizations have high-performance teams which are imperfect people working together, doing their best for a common goal.
The choice we have to make is to either use the energy of conflict productively to create (with compassion) or destructively to tear down (with drama).