• janellegsheen

Form Conflict to Difference: A mindset that makes a difference.

Updated: May 15, 2019

Conflict management, learning how to manage conflict, is a trend and for good reason. Conflicts cost a lot in time, resources and health, personally, professionally and organisationally. So it makes a lot of sense to develop skills to better manage conflicts and some wonderful techniques are shared. However this trend has been going on for a long time. Creating a question of effectiveness. I believe the reason the trend is still ongoing is because techniques alone don’t work. I believe a mindset of ‘difference’ will make all the difference for better conflict management. What if instead of seeing ‘conflicts’ we saw ‘differences’?


Conflict implies ‘us against them’ or ‘me against you’ and often a need to be ‘right’. The ‘against’ creates the need to defend, as does the need to ‘be right’. Understandably, in conflict, defending and the need to be right are strong protective stances taken. This approach commonly widens gaps in understanding between individuals with the result of injuring relationships. What if by embracing a mindset of ‘differences’ we can lose or at least significantly reduce the need to be protective and thus harm done to relationships we may value. Imagine ‘resolving differences’ instead of ‘managing conflicts’.


I invite you to consider, better still do, adjusting your thinking, your mindset, to one of ‘differences’. With a mindset of ‘differences’ we recognise that everyone matters, and can be right in their own way, or even that there is no ‘right way’. Instead we all see and understand things from different perspective, because we have different knowledge, experiences and thus a view of things. Just like the three blind men and the elephant, that’s story I often tell, just not today.


If we embrace a mindset of ‘differences’ we open our self up to possibilities, which can lead to transformative resolutions. From this stance we can easily consider that others may have information that will assist us to gain a better understanding of the situation on hand. Thus we listen too and consider what everyone has to offer. With more insights we may be able to make a better decision for obtaining what we want. Plus, people feel heard and respected. This strengthens trust within relationship and builds the quality of the relationship.


When there is a shared common purpose, all the information can be evaluated for the situation and intention at hand. Increasing the chance of a better option being devised and acted on. Sometimes this can take a bit of juggle. This juggle may require us to be patient, creative and comfortable with ambiguity. Just like putting togeather a jigsaw puzzle, another of my favorite stories, again for another time.


Right now I encourage you to imagine the impact of seeing ‘conflicts’ as ‘differences’ in your life. Imagine instead of the confusion and hurt created by ‘managed conflicts’ you experience deepening of relationships with building trust and loyalty. Now consider which you would prefer to experience and what actions you’ll take to move toward the relationships and life you want to experience.



Want more information? Then I suggest you 'follow' and or ask Janelle at Respectful Communication and Relationships today.

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