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Challenging Conversations and Managing Conflict

Few of us like conflict but what might happen if we were to reframe conflict more positively and learn to view challenging conversations as moments for personal and collective growth?

Few of us like conflict but what might happen if we were to reframe conflict more positively and learn to view challenging conversations as moments for personal and collective growth?

That Dirty Word

Conflict is viewed universally as a bit of a dirty word. And with good reason. Few of us have experienced positive conflict. Many of us feel ill-equipped to deal it. Many of us have been hurt by conflict. Many of us regret hurting others in conflict. No wonder conflict has the reputation it has.

These challenges have led to so many challenging conversations being characterised by one of two extremes: on the one hand, sweeping challenge under the carpet and trying to avoid it at all costs. On the other hand, embracing conflict head on, locking horns until the stronger party ‘wins’. Clearly, neither extreme is satisfactory. Could there be a better way?

A Better Way?

What might happen if we were to reframe conflict more positively and learn to view challenging conversations as moments for personal and collective growth? Below are three foundation stones that could help with this task.

1. Viewing Integrity as a Non-Negotiable

It is amazing how far a small dose of mutual respect can go in a challenging conversation. We may not always agree with another person but treating them with integrity and wanting the best for them is a powerful tool in and of itself.

2. Taking on a Posture of Listening

Have you noticed how the vast majority of listening in our world is in fact listening with the intent of responding? What difference could it make if we learnt to listen with a view to understanding instead? Intentional listening is a way to show the other person that we value how they feel about something. It is also a great antidote to the pervasive tendency of responding emotionally to something difficult rather than carefully considering it first.

3. Committing to Mutual Growth

When two people come together in a challenging conversation, if both sides lay down their ‘side’ and display a commitment to growing personally and helping the other person to do the same, so much good can come from conflict. We can learn to speak more honesty. We can avoid suppressing strong emotions. We starve bitterness from the oxygen it needs to take root. Committing to mutual growth is a great way to redeem conflict and no longer see it necessarily as a dirty word.

Personality Test - A Great Tool to Leverage

Do you like to learn about yourself? Do you know what your key strengths and development areas are? Perhaps you have decided to look for a new job or change your career and would like to discover where your strengths lie Whatever your reasons, there is no downside to completing our 55/Redefined Personality Test. We have developed it in partnership with C-me Colour Profiling who apply psychometric profiling techniques to provide you insight into your personal 'colour preference' at a glance. To support our growth in the three foundation stones laid out above, 55/Redefined can provide you with a unique behavioural profile. This will help you understand yourself better and become more alive to how you naturally respond to change and challenge.

The profiles will also help you think more deliberately about other people, recognising that their way of handling change and challenge may well differ to yours. When we learn how to better stand in another person’s shoes, we communicate from more of a place of understanding. Our opinions and preconceptions take a back-seat and those hard moments can be handled more objectively (getting to the heart of the issue) but also more subjectively (carefully considering the people involved).

Becoming adept at handling challenging conversations will be good for you personally but also enable you to have more life-giving interactions with others. We’d love to support you in achieving this. Click here now for more details.

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