How Conflict can benefit your business
Have you noticed that stressful situations have a way of propelling a relationship forward? Every difficult or impactful experience that we have has a way of impacting who we are. When we have shared difficult experience or successfully navigate through a conflict together, it creates a bonding point that can either bring people closer together or drive them farther apart. The way that we act and react in stressful situations can bring us together and bond us in a way that celebrates that shared experience and builds a foundation of trust to build on.
As a boss or leader of people, being able to communicate effectively is a critical skill to have. Understanding the signs around minefield topics and the cues of a possible triggered reaction will help you guide the interaction in an intentional way to a positive outcome. Conflict is inevitable! When approached in a non-defensive way, you can achieve the true purpose of most conflict; to hash out and dive deeper into, or have an open and honest debate or discourse around an issue. Conflict is necessary, and it can be healthy. It is needed in order to hash out the hard stuff, and navigating it with grace will not only build trust with your team it will help you grow as individuals.
So why does conflict get such a bad wrap and all too often go off the rails? This is due to the 4 main components in our reactions to conflict. Conflict and difficult conversations inherently set off your defenses, and each one of these reactionary-components may activate the fight, flight, freeze or flee instinct. The more intense the reaction, the more intense the defensive feeling will be.
The components are;
- Expectation and a
- Physical component
Sometimes It can feel like all of these components are happening at once, and other times you move through them more slowly. Let’s lets take a closer look.
First is the assumption. When you have that initial reaction, it comes with an assumption around your perception of what is really going on. Think of the last political conversation you had. (I know, kinda low hanging fruit, but I tell you this one seems to resonate with just about everyone). Right away, if you are set off, you make some assumptions around what is happening, the person you are talking to, what may unfold during the conversation, and whether it will be a difficult or tense conversation if you choose to continue it.
Second, comes a judgment. You make a judgment about the person, the content around the topic, and how open to other opinions around the topic they may be.
Third, comes an expectation. What is going to happen next? You start to anticipate what is coming, and you do a little forecasting or foreshadowing using your assumptions and judgments.
Since most tense situations, difficult conversations and conflicts put you on the defense, you add all of these components together and get a physical reaction. It shows up in you physically.
They don’t call it stress stomach for nothin’. Phrases like ‘Shouldering a burden’, ‘Pain in the neck’, ‘get it off your chest’ became idioms because they are universally understood to be true. Emotions have a physical element to them. We hold certain feelings and emotions in our body; most commonly in our shoulders, stomach, back, and neck.
The good news is you can train yourself to tune into your physical reaction. Pay attention to where you physically hold your emotions (such as the stomach, shoulders, back, a warm flushed feeling, etc), and when you start to have these reactions you can slow down and be purposeful in the way that you act and react. When you slow down like this and move forward with intention, you can navigate through any tense, stressful or difficult situation with grace.
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