xxxi) Avoid Conflict

Conflict can be either constructive or destructive. It is not necessarily a bad thing, ie disagreements about how to proceed can be healthy, productive and lead to better outcomes. Most important is how you handle differing positions and points of view.

Most of us prefer to avoid conflict. By ignoring or repressing friction points, you can risk enlarging the problems. Need to realize that conflict is part of the human condition and find ways to handle it. Despite the flattening of organisational structures and more personalized approach to management, conflict still occurs. In handling conflict, you need to be careful of stereotyping, rationalizing, etc. Conflict is part of change as you are challenging the status quo. Constructive use of conflict can be important in creativity, ie vigorously challenging ideas etc..

. Not understanding the difference between assumptions that you hold and assumptions that hold you.

. Not realizing that all our current actions are influenced by events and experiences that extend beyond the current circumstances, ie

"...past patterns predict future behaviour better than anything else..."

Annette Simmons, 2002

. Be careful of "moan-bonding", ie staff getting together and talking negatively about the organisation and other staff

. Be careful of "mitigated speech". This refers to any attempt to downplay or sugar-coat the meaning of what is being said. This can happen when we are being polite, or embarrassed or ashamed; or when you are being deferential to authority.

. Extracting a rational decision without first processing irrational feelings and issues is dangerous. Remember: it is shortsighted to focus on an event (decision) when the real goal is to influence behaviour. Behaviour is primarily motivated by feelings and emotions. Once feelings and emotions become exposed, they become open to the modifying influence of dialogue and human attention.

"...keeping emotions out of decision-making doesn't keep those emotions out of the implementation - it simply ignores the emotions that will soon have an impact on implementations..."

Annette Simmons, 2002


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