I once worked with someone that enjoyed conflict. He enjoyed vigorous discussion and debate and got genuinely energised from conflict situations. He always said that it was boring for everyone to agree on business issues all of the time. He would say that it “dampened his creative juices”. Thinking back now I’m glad he enjoyed conflict, as we used to bump heads quite often.
You may be thinking “who in their right mind would actively seek out conflict?“ Most people try and avoid conflict like the plague and their aim is to keep the peace at all costs. What set him apart from those conflict-avoiders and probably his greatest strength in a conflict situation, was his mindset.
He was never too precious about his own opinions to the extent that he held onto them at all costs, causing him to be blinded to alternative views. He never placed his own views above other people’s. What he did place first, was the business and what was best for the business.
The minute your views become more important than the business, when you become caught up in your own opinion, is the minute you lose your impartiality.
Having the right mindset towards conflict changes the business stage. You become more welcoming towards listening to alternative viewpoints and new ideas. Your business doesn’t become over-shadowed by your ego. You don’t have to try and justify yourself all the time to save face.
Recalling some of the conflict situations with my ex-colleague, the one thing that stood out for me was how I felt after a discussion with him. I never felt annoyed or angry. I felt heard. I felt like I wasn’t just being humoured or ignored. I felt I had added value.
Yes, there is such a thing as good conflict. Take a leaf out of my ex-colleague’s book. Make your business and it’s goals the most important entity in the room and put your ego second. Be bold enough to accept somebody else’s ideas as better than yours and celebrate that the only thing that comes from good conflict is stronger, better and more successful businesses.
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