Conflict is an inevitable aspect of our lives that often goes against what we were taught as children. We were taught to avoid it, yet it seems to constantly present itself in different forms. Disagreement, the expression of opposing ideas, and outright war are all examples of conflicts we face daily. Interestingly, we even find ourselves in conflict with our own selves, such as when our desires conflict with our values.
Take coffee as an example; it no longer agrees with me, and I have had to restrict it to a Saturday treat. However, despite being aware of the negative effects that coffee has on my mind and body, I occasionally indulge in a cup, thereby placing myself in direct conflict with my own values. Conflict can also arise when someone’s values and beliefs differ from our own, leading to disagreements and obstruction in the workplace, making it difficult for work to move forward.
Fear of conflict often leads to people remaining silent during meetings, failing to express their opinions, and hindering progress. However, Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, learned the hard way that withholding one’s opinions is unproductive and unacceptable. Netflix has, therefore, adopted a policy that encourages everyone to express their disagreements.
“Not addressing the conflict until a later time allows resentments to simmer,” says Nick Kamboj, CEO of Aston & James LLC in an interview with Business News Daily. “It is essential,” the article continued, “to address the issue immediately and transparently.”
A wellness resort in the Himalayas, where I recently stayed with my family, alongside relaxing treatments for the body, offered an educational program on the philosophy of the mountains, known as Vedanta. During one of the sessions, the speaker, Shyam Nataraj, likened workplace conflict to a skilled tennis player like Roger Federer. Federer faces every ball his opponent throws at him with mastery and grace. Win or lose, the opponents amicably shake hands at the end of the match.
When faced with a conflicting comment or idea, Caroline Goyder suggests maintaining curiosity and control, similar to how one would approach good customer service. This behavior helps to create a relaxed and open atmosphere, allowing others to remain curious alongside you.
In conclusion, reframing one’s mindset from fear of disagreement to one of intellectual expansion and growth can help foster a more positive and productive approach to conflict. Conflict may be uncomfortable, but it can also lead to significant growth and progress when approached with a mindset of curiosity and openness.