Conflict: When what happens is different from what you expected.
This is the definition I learned when I took Basic Mediation Training. It’s simple, yet it makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s inherently neutral. There’s no charge or emotion in the statement. It’s “I expected A, and B happened, so there’s a disconnect.” The challenge comes when our expectations are infused with history, needs and wants, and emotion. We take those unmet expectations very personally, we become very attached to the outcome, and the situation devolves into “us vs. them.”
Conflict is part of life. In fact, if there’s no conflict, there might be a problem! You might be saying, “But wait… isn’t total harmony the goal? Peace and love and all that stuff?” It’s possible that lack of conflict could be the result of a well-functioning relationship, with transparent, honest communication and no unmet expectations. But it could also mean that people have acquiesced, given up, or been shut out of decisions and processes. Preserving the peace or deferring to someone’s ego is more important than direct communication and creative problem solving. Whether it’s in a family or a work team, that dynamic leads to built-up resentment, passive-aggressive behavior, lack of trust and respect, and a toxic culture.
ZOPA Consulting is on a mission to expand our capacity to have courageous conversations and you move from conflict to cooperation. We help you recalibrate your relationship to conflict so that you have healthier relationships and less stress in your life.
We offer the following core services:
- Communication, Conflict & Mediation Coaching
- Leadership Coaching
- Workplace Mediation and Conflict Resolution
- Roundtable and Group Facilitation
- Seminars and Presentations on Healthy Conflict and Communication
Start Here : Learn what ZOPA is all about and how it can boost your Communication Capacity.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict — alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”
― Dorothy Thompson