Let me start this article by asking you a few questions and, if you have the time and desire, take a pen and paper (or keyboard and word) and write down your answers. The advice, as always, is to respond immediately.
- What does the word "conflict" mean to you?
- How do you feel when you think about a conflict situation, be it personal or business?
- What kind of reaction do you have when you see two or more people arguing or arguing?
Review and rate your answers after reading this short article. Generally speaking, we can say that a conflict arises from a perceived incompatibility of actions, goals or ideas. Our emotional component, if not properly controlled, tends to stimulate a sense of rejection towards everything that is different and contrary to our models of thought and behavior. Conflict is a stable component of social relationships and, whenever two or more people interact, a confrontation of needs and desires spontaneously arises which can lead to a clash of personalities. The corporate environment, or work in general, is no exception, and the lighter consequences are:
But this would be the minimum, the reality is that the escalation it can lead to disputes and conflicts that can seriously damage the working environment and company performance. The real risk of a conflict is that an isolated case turns into a way of working, transforming the whole context into a conflictual environment. It sounds incredible, but there is a part of us that indulges and feeds the desire for conflict, even when we are not directly concerned. Somehow, we like to live in conflictual tension, it motivates and energizes us.
We believe that confrontation allows us to reaffirm our personality and values better and more effectively. It is no longer bias-free confrontation that drives our thoughts and actions, it is the desire for self-affirmation and overwhelm. The theme is that to mitigate and resolve a conflict it is necessary to circumvent emotional obstacles, to place them under the full control of rationality and logic, which is not simple, but possible. Roy J.Lewicki, in his book Negotiation , has identified the five strategic ways to deal with a conflict situation:
Five rational behaviors, which aim to replace emotional pressures. The problem is that if you are involved in a conflictual context, the emotional pressures have already set in motion and overwhelmed us. The causes can be different, anger, anxiety, depression, sadness, a general tension, stress and so on. Among other things, conflicts feed on these factors and return them to the subject amplified and magnified. So what to do? Let's start by saying that any form of conflict represents a defeat for the parties, regardless of the final outcome of the confrontation. Especially in the business environment, both the "loser" and the "winner" always come out strongly reduced in the eyes of collaborators, colleagues and, above all, their bosses. Do you want a solution? Practice being a peacemaker.
I know, it may seem a generic, rhetorical and "indifferent" statement, but it works. Focus on preventing conflicts that involve you and conflicts that affect others. Study your reactions and those of others and engage in compromising and mediating behaviors. Always ask yourself, "Why does that certain phrase or behavior irritate me?" "And why does it irritate me so much that I seek a quarrel?" "Why is dude so prejudiced against Caio?" "What can it be that determines these reactions?" Practice and you will find that you will acquire real peacemaker skills and competences. Our conflicting paradigms are powerful and have their roots in our childhood, but in adulthood we can learn, by working on our self-awareness, to shift our energies on being peacemakers.
Attention, this does not mean avoiding confrontation, on the contrary. When you are trained to be peacemakers, you will, at the same time, become excellent inquisitors and you will know how to value your motivations, without falling into opposition. You will not have to work on what differentiates you from others, but on your reactions to these differences. Comparison, in itself, is not good or bad, it is the way we perceive comparison that makes it good or bad. Being "corporate peacemakers" means becoming promoters of respect for values and differences between people. The corporate peacemaker takes a pragmatic view of the problem and encourages avoiding misunderstandings and, ultimately, failure or distrust in business and interpersonal relationships.
The corporate peacemaker perceives conflict as an opportunity for change. If differences are treated with respect, any dispute can be resolved peacefully. Conflict management is a means of turning conflict into an opportunity, of building bridges between people and improving relationships. This possibility leads people to talk about their differences and communicate their perceptions, in order to find a shared solution. The goal is to reach a level The corporate peacemaker perceives conflict as an opportunity for change. If differences are treated with respect, any dispute can be resolved peacefully. The goal is to reach a level the corporate peacemaker perceives conflict as an opportunity for change.
The goal is to reach a level This possibility leads people to talk about their differences and communicate their perceptions, in order to find a shared solution. The goal is to reach a level win-win where everyone is satisfied with the result. Who should play the role of peacemaker in the company? Generally speaking, anyone, but certainly every leader must have this ability. In this sense, training and coaching are fundamental tools. It is necessary to develop in the leader an awareness of the effectiveness of conflict resolution techniques, encouraging him to use them as a positive means to resolve disputes.
A peacemaker does not have the authority to impose a deal. The resolution is found and belongs to the parties "at stake". The peacemaker helps people structure their speeches, thoughts and concerns. It supports them in explaining the deeper layers involved in the conflict. He is the architect of the mediation movement, the guardian of the process. As an Executive Coach, I want to reiterate the simplest thing in the world, which is that every individual is unique. Conflict resolution is an opportunity to teach, learn, give and understand human nature and minds. I think that dialogue and the rational understanding of differences are the keys to respect and universal growth, even in the company.
About the author
Giuseppe Ando is a C-Level & Executive Coach - Associate Partner at the acclaimed Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching. With a career that presides at the crux of the Venn diagram of Passion, Skills, and Experience, Giuseppe’s reputation as top executive coach has spanned decades. Among his many accolades, he is also recognized for his unique ability to understand and inspire those he coaches to excel professionally and personally while also delivering their organization’s desired results.