Lean into conflict

Shaun Enders

Conflict. The word alone conjures feelings specific to the person hearing it. If you associate resolution with conflict, then the word can take on a meaning of progress but if conflict triggers a flight mode for you, perhaps it’s time to explore why.

We all experience conflict in both our personal and professional lives. It’s not that we actively seek it out, it’s simply inevitable as we go on this journey of life.

What I have experienced both in my personal life and in business is, when you lean into conflict, understand where it stems from and work diligently to gain a greater perspective from it, some of the greatest relationships and agreements can emerge. It’s when you run from or try and control conflict with your own inflated ego do you fail to learn the lessons baked from within.

We live in a happiness era; everyone is searching for happiness and conflict and happiness are siblings that don’t get along well. But what if you could recognize that through conflict you could be led to happiness?

Within business, we can agree that long standing relationships where both vendors and clients understand each other’s goals are typically the most fruitful. Long standing business relationships typically don’t exist without some painful times. Times where the vendor didn’t understand the client, or the client felt the vendor couldn’t deliver. It’s during these times where a greater understanding of each other has the potential to emerge.

Conflict with your significant other although potentially painful and uncomfortable is inevitable for long-term relationships. If you run each time a disagreement arises, it becomes a long lonely road.

As a vendor, there are times when our company hasn’t delivered. If our client is willing to invest for the long term, what they will find is a committed progressive relationship where everyone wins. For the rare times where we must be punished, all parties lose.

If we can let our go of our egoic nature for a moment and lean into conflict. Work to understand where the conflict originated, we will not only grow as humans, we will grow as businesses. We will approach each relationship with a win/win thought process, and we will aim to understand.

In a world where drive-through reign supreme and the internet delivers what we want at lightning speed, a I want it now and I want it my way mentality emerges. We will discard what doesn’t work and quickly move onto the next.

I caution us to not lose our sense of patience and understanding. To be less quick to judge, even when time is money. Work through your problems and help to find solutions together.

I believe the greatest relationships will emerge for you. I believe you will look at the people and companies who serve you in a different light and perhaps you will gain a greater understanding that we are all in this together.

Here are some simple steps to managing conflict.

  1. Get to the heart of the disagreement.
  2. Seek to understand rather than focusing on being understood.
  3. Establish a mutual goal.
  4. Discuss how all parties can meet this goal.
  5. Identify the potential barriers for this goal.
  6. Agree on the best way to resolve the conflict.
  7. Acknowledge the solution and determine each person’s responsibility to achieve the goal.

And Finally

If after working through the above seven steps, you can’t come to a resolution or a favorable outcome for all parties, perhaps it’s time to move on.

I hope you lean into disagreements and embrace conflict for growth.

About the Author

Shaun Enders is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Transition Staffing Group located in San Diego. Shaun is extremely passionate about recruiting and developing others to bring out the best version of themselves.