Navigating Change & Conflict

Understanding Conflict

by Tony DiLeonardi

Conflict.  It's a word that generally brings up negative emotions in people.  And while conflict is inevitable, many of us expend great energy at avoiding it.  However, this avoidance frequently perpetuates unnecessary tension and may even prevent productive solutions.  In fact, I think Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Walter Lippmann summed it up best with his quote "Where all think alike, no one thinks very much." I firmly believe that those who embrace and lead conflict may create stronger and longer-lasting business relationships.

To help you more effectively deal with conflict, we'll devote our next few posts to exploring sources of conflict, how to coach conflict and the three-steps for handling conflict well. If managed well, conflict can have positive long-term effects and result in creative problem-solving.  If not managed well, I'm sure you'd agree it can impair the connection you've worked so hard to establish in your relationships. 

I'll leave you with an unsourced anecdote that demonstrates the effect unmanaged conflict can have on a relationship. One of Lyndon B. Johnson's daughters was asked by a journalist to describe her relationship with her famous father.  After a moment's thought, she composed a reply: "Blood."