Conflict is great; there is nothing like it to liven up a dull day or to get your juices flowing. Without conflict, there would be no gripping works of literature, no tear-jerking romances, no edge-of-your-seat thrillers. There would be no exchange of divergent ideas, no chance to broaden your perspective, no opportunity to forgive or apologize, no room to grow, no colorful language. Not only is conflict unavoidable, it is desirable. "Good conflict" may sound like an oxymoron, but in fact, conflict can often bring about positive change.
Most of the time, people view conflict as a destructive and negative event - and it can be.
When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, it caused massive destruction. But there were also positive outcomes as well: not only has the area recovered, it has provided scientists with an invaluable real-world lab to study geology, erosion, and more. Sometimes you have to look for the positive. In the workplace, the reward of finding it and dealing with it positively is greater productivity, increased creativity and better outcomes.
We are surrounded by conflict every day, whether we are having disputes at work or watching the Canucks play the Bruins. While we may hate being in the middle of conflict ourselves, we would equally despise a world in which everyone agreed. Conflict often brings with it opportunity, and if we can see the possibilities, we can harness the opportunities from situations that may seem negative at first glance.
The next time you are faced with a conflict, remember to look for the positive. This is as simple as asking yourself:
What is the opportunity offered by this conflict?
Contributed by John Curtis, Attorney and Conflict Coach