We are continuing our journey through the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), remembering that our EQ can be grown and developed within us!
Last week we reflected on Relationship Management and how we can use our influence with others in a way that is honoring for them, for ourselves, and for our relationships. Today, a few thoughts about the role managing conflict plays in our relationships with others.
We need to start by admitting that when it comes to relationships, conflict is inevitable. I have a number of people I am close to in my life, and I can honestly say I don’t see eye-to-eye with them on everything. In fact, some of my most healthy relationships actually involve our ability to disagree and engage in healthy conflict management together. And that’s the most important lesson for today - there is such a thing as healthy conflict!
So, what does healthy conflict management look like? First, it remembers that everyone involved is a valuable person, and that just because we may have different ideas, that is about our ideas. Being in conflict over an idea doesn’t change the fact that everyone involved has value and are worthy of giving and receiving respect. Therefore, healthy conflict management remembers the personhood of everyone involved and focuses on the issue of our conflict in a way that honors each other.
Second, healthy conflict management works toward some version of a forward solution, which may at times, include a willingness to move forward without coming to agreement. In some of the leadership training I do with individuals and teams, we talk about finding a place of harmony rather than unity with others (ie. all singing the same song, but maybe not the same notes). We can look for the ways we can move forward into positive solutions, even if we aren’t in total agreement about all of the details or the reasons why we ended up here.
As we grow our EQ, especially in the realm of Healthy Relationship Management, it’s critical we remember conflict is inevitable; we are in conflict with real people who matter, we just happen to be in conflict over an issue; and, we can look for ways to move forward together in a positive direction.
How could we approach conflict differently if we worked to separate the issue from the person and we tried to find a place of forward harmony together?
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