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conflict is both healthy and necessary, drama is not. but drama ensues when conflict is avoided.

patrick lencioni states that a fear of conflict is the second dysfunction of a team (the first being an absence of trust). when people are afraid to speak up, conflict never gets resolved. and when conflict isn't resolved, it festers. it grows. and it often divides teams.

how often has something happened in your life where you've held onto this anger and resentment towards another person, only to have that completely dissipate when you understand their persepctive or reasoning? quite often though, we don't even allow the other person an opportunity to explain - we hold onto our perception as though it's fact. as though it's reality. and it's like holding onto poison - you're the one suffering from it, not them.

so how do you go about resolving conflict? if it's something you can't let go of, confront it. but do so in the right way. i recommend a mediator - someone who has an ability to facilitate and remain entirely objective to the conflict at hand. the purpose of this mediator is to ensure both parties not only express their perspectives, but are heard in the process. a mediator is like a translator - they help the other party understand by explaining things in an alternative, non-threatening manner.

when stating your view, use "i feel" statements or "in my perspective" - this insinuates you're taking ownership for your feelings and perspective and is less threatening than the word "you". it also implies that your perspective might not be reality - this openness to seeing things from an alternative viewpoint is imperative if anything is to be resolved. without a willingness to understand, communication becomes superfluous.

lastly, in order for the conflict to be addressed, both parties must first feel safe. choose an environment that is conducive for achieving this and a mediator that is both trusted and respected - someone who will be non-reactive, non-judgemental, and take an active interest in resolving this conflict.

so what conflict have you been avoiding? and how is that continuing to affect your life?

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