Conflict can challenge you to grow

Who says conflict is a bad thing?  Often, we try to avoid conflict as it’s seen as something undesirable,  or unwanted.  We are meant to seek harmony at all costs.  But truly there are many benefits to conflict; one is that conflict can challenge you to grow.

Here are 3 ways conflict can help you grow personally and professionally:

1. Rethink your priorities

Conflict can make you rethink your priorities and examine what you are trying to achieve.  When you’re in disagreement with someone, take a step back. Go over your interests and what it is that you want to achieve. Is it worth it? If so – why? If not, why are you continuing it? Sometimes you have to learn which battles you might want to pursue.  In the beginning of the sign of a conflict arising, you might want to let things go simply.

2. Brings patterns of behaviour to the fore

Conflict brings patterns of behaviours to you, making them a sharp focus of attention.  When you’re in disagreement and you’re going through the usual tit-for-tat, my idea is better than yours because. You get used to fighting. You can’t change the other person but you can examine and change yourself. When you take a moment to reflect on your interactions, you’ll likely notice some patterns of behaviour. Something may be triggering you to enter battle mode. You may be doing something to provoke certain reactions in others.

By paying attention to how you’re interacting with others, you’re creating opportunities for you to develop skills. You’re able to alter your behaviours.  You’re more aware of how you’re communicating and can intentionally change your style.

3. Identifies weak points

Conflicts identify weak points: Often people enter conflicts because they feel threatened or vulnerable. A natural defensive reaction is to cast the attention away from the weakness. Instead, when you identify it, try very hard to work on the weakness. Learn new skills. Expand your understanding. Meet new people. It’s not easy but the results are worth it.

4. Develop Emotional Intelligence

Understanding and managing your own emotions, as well as empathizing with others, are crucial skills in conflict resolution. Emotional intelligence helps in recognizing the underlying feelings behind the conflicts, which often stem from miscommunications, personal insecurities, or stress. By being aware of these emotions, individuals can better control their responses and engage in more constructive discussions. This awareness also aids in predicting and understanding the emotional responses of others, which can prevent escalation and foster a more empathetic interaction.

5. Enhance Communication Skills

Effective communication is essential to resolving conflicts. This includes active listening, clear and respectful speaking, and the ability to convey your thoughts and feelings without aggression. Practising active listening involves giving full attention to the speaker, acknowledging their message, and responding thoughtfully. Clear communication also means being direct yet tactful in expressing oneself. Enhancing these skills helps in de-escalating conflicts and finding common ground, or at least understanding the different perspectives involved.

6. Foster Flexibility

Being flexible in conflict situations means being open to different outcomes and not insisting on one’s way as the only solution. Flexibility involves the willingness to consider alternative viewpoints and compromises. This adaptability can lead to more innovative and satisfactory resolutions that might not have been initially apparent. Flexibility also helps in maintaining relationships despite disagreements, as it demonstrates respect for other perspectives.

7. Build Resilience

Conflict often involves setbacks and challenges that can be emotionally draining. Building resilience helps individuals recover from conflicts more effectively and maintain their productivity and positivity. Resilience in this context means the ability to remain focused on solutions rather than getting bogged down by problems. It also includes learning from each conflict experience to handle future disputes better.

8. Cultivate Patience

Patience is vital in managing conflict as it allows time for all parties involved to reflect on the situation and come to thoughtful conclusions. Rushing to resolve a conflict can lead to half-baked solutions that might not address the root causes. Patience helps in reducing tension and gives space for emotions to settle, which is particularly important in heated disputes.

9. Practice Assertiveness

Being assertive means expressing one’s own needs, rights, and desires clearly and respectfully, without being aggressive or passive. This quality is essential in conflicts as it helps to ensure that all parties’ views and needs are fairly represented and considered. Assertiveness leads to more balanced solutions where compromise does not equate to self-sacrifice but rather to mutual respect and understanding.

10. Learn to Let Go

Not all conflicts can be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Learning to let go involves recognizing when to disengage from a dispute that is unproductive or damaging. It also entails accepting that some issues may not be worth the emotional toll they take. Letting go can prevent unnecessary stress and preserve personal well-being and relationships. This lesson is particularly important in ongoing relationships where picking battles wisely can maintain harmony and reduce bitterness.

When you give yourself time to reflect, conflict can challenge you to grow by indicating areas in which you can develop and strengthen. Whenever you expand your skill set and understanding of a situation, there is a greater likelihood of mastery and innovation.

Pick one of the suggestions and see how it works for you. Experiment with the other options. Compare how you feel about each option.

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Renée helps business get unstuck. Through business relationship mapping, conflict resolution and leadership development, Renée helps entrepreneurs and businesses understand their ecosystems, identify underutilised resources and opportunities to engage.

Renée works at both ends of the spectrum: from the fun stuff of building excellent teams to dealing with low morale. She helps managers take workplace bullies by the horns, address long standing conflicts, all of the frustrating stuff to harnessing the energy in a conflict to collaborate, innovate, and build better businesses.

Renée is a speaker, trainer, coach and consultant.