Conflict at Work, Home & Play Part 1: Manage conflict through coaching and find peace
The Science of Conflict: You mean there is a science to conflict?
I studied Conflict Resolution, Negotiation and Mediation at Menno Simons College in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Conflict has been studied and analyzed at various levels in our society and for a variety of reasons. The quest to understand conflict notes that when we seek to resolve disputes and mitigate conflict it truly does enhance our personal and professional lives increasing our sense of well-being. That being said, conflict has been studied to reduce the glut of cases within the court systems, to reduce marriage breakdown, workplace discord and ensuing unproductively, as well as, to lessen the negative impact on children while fostering a civil and caring society.
No one with any sense of sanity enjoys conflict, but having difficult conversations is important in moving relationships (whether in our personal lives or work lives) towards growth, depth & meaning. In other words, conflict itself is not a problem. It is the way we deal with conflict that creates the problem.
A little text book thinking to start. Conflict has been studied and analyzed at various levels in our society and for a variety of reasons. The quest to understand conflict notes that when we seek to resolve disputes and mitigate conflict it truly does enhance our personal and professional lives. Solving conflict in respectful ways actually increases our sense of well-being. That being said, conflict has been studied to reduce the glut of cases within the court systems, to reduce marital breakdown, as well as workplace discord along with the ensuing unproductively. Another hope to reduce unproductive conflict is to lessen the negative impact on children while fostering a civil and caring society.
No one with any sense of sanity enjoys conflict, but having difficult conversations is an important aspect in moving relationships towards growth, depth & meaning (in both our personal as well as work lives). Conflict can develop depth, learning and intimacy. In other words, conflict itself is not a problem. It is when conflicts are poorly dealt with that we all suffer painful problems, discord, arguments resulting in relational as well as institutional breakdowns.
Physical Health Crisis
When conflict is not handled properly the results are not only disastrous in our home & work relationships, but also on our health. Family conflicts, neighbourhood disputes, marital breakdown, negative workplace interactions, hurting friendships all have a significant impact on our emotional and physical health. The health care system is overwrought with people whose ailments are the direct result of wear and tear on the body through the impact of relational stress and strain over time. As the science of conflict tells us: if we don’t reduce conflict and the ensuing pain that escalated conflict can bring, we as a society will continue to witness increases in work absenteeism due to factual physical difficulties. Alcoholism, eating disorders, migraine headaches, digestive difficulties, cancer, and difficulties with memory and mental clarity can be a direct result.
So with all this knowledge of how conflict surfaces, escalates and damages our lives then what is stopping us from taking steps to reduce this kind of stress we all endure? Before I try to answer this question let’s look at other aspects where poorly handled conflict rears itself.
When Conflict Equals War
At a macro level conflict has been studied in order to understand politics, persuasion and ultimately to study war to learn how to negotiate differences while maintaining national interests in peaceful and productive ways. Let’s face it, conflict not handled properly has devastating physical, emotional and financial consequences. Certainly at a macro level the results are devastating to societies and populations all over the world. We know that regional conflict has been documented from the the earliest of times. We are witness to conflict at work today. All we have to do is turn on the news.
Workplace Conflict Resolution
Workplace conflicts are flooding the use of EAPs (Employment Assistance Programs) as well as group insurance providers. Some insurance companies cover psychological and psychiatric services that often take years to assist employees dealing with toxic workplace conflict. Money, time and productivity are lost when workplaces lack the skill set necessary to resolve differences that lead to disputes.
In larger institutions such as the medical profession (hospitals, clinics etc) as well the Educational sector (schools, school divisions and learning centres) you would think that professionals in the helping professions would have a handle on how to resolve differences that lead to disputes. Actually the opposite is true. These helping professions are riddled with massive destructive & dysfunctional styles of conflict from the top down. CEOs, superintendents, managers, and the leaders in these institutions are more often than not completely unfit to deal with conflict in the workplace. As a matter of fact they are the number one cause of workplace dissension. I will write about the impact of leadership on workplace health in another blog. Suffice to say leadership is responsible for the tone, rapport, and expectations on how conflict is handled within the workplace. They must be the role model of workplace conflict resolution, but unfortunately if you show me a workplace that suffers from toxic discord you must look to the leaders as they will be found to be the culprits exhibiting the worst of human destruction within their own walls. Remember the notable reference to the ancient scribes? A city divided against itself will not stand.
But wait! How can you promote peace if you are a reasonable peace-loving person yet the people in your circle seem to thrive on keeping conflict alive? Yes, many people actually enjoy and thrive on creating and maintaining conflict. You know who they are. They just seem to speak without thinking, blurt out nasty comments while you and those you care about feel the sting. They turn tables, that is, they might say you are too sensitive or they didn’t mean it that way. Or they flat out lie, manipulate and do “end arounds” to establish workplace territory. In other words, they don’t take responsibility for their role in conflict or the tactical warfare they engage in. You know how it goes. What we at Waypoint focus on is your role in the conflict. Even if you are being targeted or bullied we can help you find your way through this quagmire. We help you look at the situation objectively while reducing the emotional distress. We help you discover and practice using your voice in ways that pull you out of the position of “nobody” and into the position of self confidence. Once you discover your inner voice, personhood, and options we walk you through a strategic process to discover all of your options while taking back your power in ways that emit the kind of respect you may have lost. Let’s be real here. Interactions with aggressive, self serving, manipulative people & systems can weaken your view of your options in stressful situations.
At Waypoint we don’t blame or shame. We walk you through a system where you keep your integrity (or maybe even find it) while maintaining your boundaries. At Waypoint the focus is on YOU where we hold space for you to ascertain what it is you need, want and support you as you execute the plan that gives you back your God given right to self respect. We support you as you learn to “unhook” from the bait of those who merely view you as the competition they want to remove. We work through the circle of respect where you live your life from a place of dignity and self respect while giving the same to others regardless of their deceitful and dysfunctional ways.
Waypoint offers coaching to support you wherever you find yourself dealing with painful and tiresome conflict. We know that conflict drains us, reduces creativity, minimizes energy and quality of life.
Please feel free to read my next blog where you will find Conflict at Work, Home & Play Part 2 in order to find out how to eliminate the things that block us from taking steps to reduce conflict in our lives at home and work. Obstacles are not the problem, but the lack of skill in this area often is the culprit. With skills and strategies you can and will get around the obstacles to obtaining peace and success.
Weekly Word to the Wise:
You are a gift to the world. When you become entrenched in warfare with those who thrive on it you are not where you are supposed to be. You were created for more.- Lesley Corbett-
Thanks for reading.