Career Karen

It Took Six Months to Resolve a Conflict

Karen fightSeveral years ago, I experienced a business conflict. This conflict lasted 6 months. I had made a business decision that created this disruption with a colleague.

We were both willing to engage in dialogue and resolve our differences. We had met over coffee a few times over those six months – per my request. However, the conversations never brought resolve. We had opposing views and differing opinions; and we could not find that common ground.   We still worked well together, but there was strain in our relationship. There was an unspoken undercurrent.

On-going conflict for six months is not any fun. It’s disruptive and has a negative impact on camaraderie and rapport.   I don’t like it (does anyone?).

I was determined to resolve!

We went for coffee…again. I asked him to recount his perspective…again .

He shared his views – which was not how I recollected it. But that didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered to me was his interpretation. I no longer tried to explain myself. I sat and listened; and repeated what I was hearing him say. As I listened, I continued to look for the positive intention in what he was trying to convey to me. It wasn’t about being right or wrong anymore. It wasn’t about defending my stance.   It was about respecting his views and valuing his opinions. And in turn, he listened to mine and reciprocated respect.

We resolved.

Interesting what took place next: He thanked me for my tenacity and my patience with the time it took to resolve our differences.

Something clicked in us that day. That very conflict strengthed us. Our loyalty to one another was sealed. And we stepped into a higher level of trust.

What did I learn? If we are willing to engage in dialogue, conflict will only strengthen us. If we are patient – it will resolve. There is nothing to fear. It is not a personal attack when someone disagrees with you. It is a strengthening of forces. Stay in it.

– Karen Thrall

One reply on “It Took Six Months to Resolve a Conflict”

Reblogged this on Michel Hobson's Workplace Training Blog and commented:
So many times the workplace conflicts are viewed in a negative light – rather than an opportunity for viewing different perspectives. Especially in business environment, it is critical to provide a safe, mutually respectful environment for differing viewpoints. Conflict, by it’s very nature, ensures a chance to gain multiple perspectives of the business issues.

Workplace disagreements force an opportunity to voice differing views and highlight issues that like-minded peers may miss. “… that very conflict strengthened us.” Ideally, all workplace teams want to be collaborative, and to increase their strength within their organization and in the marketplace.

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