We Need More Conflict in Our Lives!

I’m guessing you think I am crazy, but it’s true.  We all could use more conflict in our lives.  But not just any conflict – Productive Conflict™. What is it, why do we need more of it and how can you use it? I am so glad you asked!

Productive Conflict

Productive Conflict™ occurs when two people who disagree get to state their case, have a discussion about the points on which they disagree, develop a solution and implement it. No screaming, no hurt feelings, no gossip, no misunderstandings and no drama.

Why we need more conflict

Everyone I know hates conflict.  There is nothing fun about it.  It is uncomfortable and wrought with emotional landmines and risk.  So most of us simply avoid it.  We dance around a problem, hint at what we want, stew when it doesn’t happen and then explode.  We expect other people to just know what we want and believe the only right way to handle the situation is how we want it done.  It never works that way but that is what we want.

The reason we need more conflict is to keep the explosions and hurt feelings from happening.  If a situation is discussed and addressed as soon as it is a problem it will be over before it gets ugly.  We need more tiny disagreements and less huge blowups.

How to Use Productive Conflict

It is important to realize that most people have no idea how to have and manage a Productive Conflict conversation.  After reading this post, you will likely know more about it than anyone you know.  So you are going to have to be responsible for making it happen.  Here are the steps:

  1. Notice that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.  Many of us are so skilled at avoiding conflict you might not even be aware you are doing it.  When something is bugging you, don’t ignore it.
  2. Set aside time to have a conversation.  Don’t try to have a conversation in the hall outside the bathroom or at the water cooler.  Schedule real time to talk.
  3. Tell the other person your concern using “I” based statements. Catch yourself anytime you start to say “you”.  Can you reword it into an “I” statement so you own your power?
  4. Ask them to share their side of the situation and LISTEN!
  5. Restate your understanding – “If I understand correctly you are saying…” “Your main concern is…”
  6. Discuss common ground and solutions
  7. Implement

Conflict is never fun.  But coming up with a solution and avoiding a major confrontation is very rewarding.  You will also get a reputation for being a great team player and knowing how to be a leader if you are able to use Productive Conflict™ successfully and avoid the grudge matches that can so easily undermine your ability to succeed.

Do you have an example of a simple issue that turned into a huge problem because it wasn’t handled right away?  We would love to hear about it in the comments!

As always, I wish you the MOST from your potential!

Doc Robyn

Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known conflict resolution expert, motivational speaker and executive wordsmith.  As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of life through active leadership, powerful teamwork, effective communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills.  She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time.  To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, email her at DocRobyn@ChampPerformance.com or call 302-307-3091.

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