5 Common misconceptions about conflict

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On last week’s blog post we established how critical it is for leaders to learn to handle conflict effectively. It is equally important for couples. Part of understanding conflict better is making sure we are not working under faulty thinking. Following are 5 of the most common misconceptions you need to be aware of.

1. If I don’t deal with it, it will go away

Don’t you wish! The reality is that the longer you ignore a conflict, the worst it becomes. It will escalate until it becomes so difficult you can no longer ignore it. Yes, you and I can probably think of the one exception when a conflict went away on its own. But usually it will not magically dissipate. Conflicts are like an infected wound: The more you wait, the more unmanageable it becomes, the more it hurts, and the more it can threaten your very lifeblood.

2. Confrontations are always bad and ugly

Many leaders shy away from conflict because they want to be “nice.” Yet, confrontation doesn’t have to be nasty. To confront means: to face, to oppose, to meet, to bring face to face. It’s putting the issues on the table to be addressed. Unless issues and behaviors are confronted, nothing will change.

3. If there is conflict, I must be a poor leader

The presence of conflict doesn’t have anything to do with your leadership abilities. HOW you deal with conflict does. Stay tune to next week’s blog post to learn how to deal with conflict in the best way.

4. Conflict is a sign people don’t care

Wrong! Conflict tends to be a sign of genuine concern. If people are willing to invest the time and energy involved in conflict it’s because they care. Whether you are talking about workplace conflict or marital conflict, If you take the time to clarify emotions and identify underlying values it can strengthen commitment.

5. Anger is always negative and destructive

Explosive anger can be destructive. But if the energy of the anger is channeled into identifying the issues and reasons for the conflict, anger can be cathartic. Anger as a feeling isn’t positive or negative. How you choose to listen to and utilize and deal with that anger, is vital for effectively managing conflict.

Remember. . .

Conflict doesn’t have to be bad. Nor is it a bad reflection on your leadership. By understanding it correctly and managing it effectively, you can reap the benefits of productive conflict. In the next blog post we will explore how to better deal with conflict. Meanwhile, you can explore how you can receive help in dealing with conflicts here.