The Role of Conflict LO9716

Keith Cowan (72212.51@CompuServe.COM)
03 Sep 96 13:40:01 EDT

Replying to LO9651 -- (Scott Cypher)

>I find it far easier to say I have a personality conflict with someone and
>ignore the relationship, rather than work with the person to understand
>their point of view and understand how I contribute to the conflict...
>snip>... I'd rather have people
>willing to choose to work on their relationships over people waiting for me
>to act. I'd rather have people willing to choose for a different path
>(career, job) on their own, rather than me making that choice for them. My
>assertion is that people will only learn from this type of situation if
>they make the choices themselves. If I force a decision (to leave) then
>that will only drive them deeper into their feelings of being a victim.

By all means, there will always be hundreds of latent personality
"conflicts" because of the rich variety of types. Most facilitation will
try to address these by getting the protagonists to work on them. When
this works, great! I think your first sentence sums up the average
reaction of people.

By removal of one party, I was suggesting that such conflicts can be
destructive and get in the way of teamwork. The removal would not always
be out of the company (my example was a 50 person business unit) but just
out of a regular sphere of influence. The important thing is to
acknowledge that these conflicts are real and, if submerged, will act
against the rate of progress of changes owing to the energy diverted.

As I pointed out in my original post, some level of conflict is healthy.
What I am promting is that it be maintained as conflict of ideas and
actions rather than conflicts of a personal nature.

>My assertion is that the people create the situation, and if in that
>situation there is conflict, it is a reflection of the peoples intention to
>be in conflict. If I as a person choose cooperation over conflict, my
>results will reflect that, and I will have cooperative situations, not
>conflict one...

I would sum up what I am promoting by beginning every opinion or assertion
by ensuring that the following is communicated to the person in
opposition: "However much I may be at odds with your position, let it be
very clear that I respect you as a person and also like to hear your
ideas. What I want to accomplish is to pursue the best outcome for ...
(our team) regardless of whose idea it was" - then we should be able to
progress. If the person continues to take every disagreement personally, I
expect there will not be much progress in the relationhip and one of the
contributors will not be heard. Cheers....Keith


Keith Cowan <72212.51@CompuServe.COM>

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