Conflicting Ideas

vs. being conflicted.

A conflict of ideas is a good thing...different outcomes, more possibilities, often leading to compromise or a new idea altogether. It’s a welcomed beginning. Conflict within a team, partnership or even with yourself however is a deep rooted problem which prevents constructive analysis of opposing ideas. The lack of trust, empathy and fear of uncertain outcomes undermines the chance to work together to solve problems and consider options. Too often we mistake personal conflict as idea conflict and work to create compromise or simply to choose one to move things along. Managers choose, often through compromise. But ultimately, they decide. Of course this leaves one or more sides unhappy...leading to more conflict. Alternatively, a leader focuses first on the root issue, resolving conflict by restoring or building trust, teaching the value of generosity and seeing alternative points of view. At this point conflicting ideas are no longer seen as a problem, as an obstacle to get past so one can win out over the other, but rather as a range of possibilities for an even better outcome. A group who trusts each other and is enrolled around a central cause now sorts it out themselves. Of course leadership like this takes longer and requires more effort. But the results exponentially expand the universe of possibility.