People deal with conflict differently. Some choose to avoid it, while others seem to relish it. Whether you instigate or avoid, conflict is an inevitable part of life.
A good conflict uncovers gaps, reveals underlying issues, and works to resolve them. A destructive conflict can sever relationships, splinter the team, and problems persist or are left unaddressed.
There is great power in harnessing conflict. Harnessing conflict does not mean instigating and promoting arguments. Instead, conflict is a reminder that more learning needs to be done. With more understanding, people become better at resolving problems.
One way to harness conflict is to have a meta-discussion. A meta-discussion is a discussion about the discussion. A meta-discussion allows and provides the space for everyone to express themselves. Conducting a meta-discussion requires a facilitator to remain calm and impartial while asking questions that reveal underlying values and beliefs.
By doing so, people learn to acknowledge each other’s thoughts and feelings, gain insights into different perspectives and learn about each other better. Make full use of conflicts when they arise, for it is an opportunity to learn about others, but mostly yourself.
Conflict can and should be handled constructively; when it is, relationships benefit. Conflict avoidance is not the hallmark of a good relationship. On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and of poor communication. Harriet B. Braiker