Thursday, February 17, 2011

Conflict and Communication Rarely Coexist

One of my favorite sayings is that conflict and communication rarely coexist. Humans generally want the same thing. Conflict arises between people because one person believes that what they want, and another person wants, is somehow mutually exclusive. If you get more pie, I get less. But what if you could both make the pie bigger? Then you could both have more. If you have an on-going relationship with someone, what you want and they want is probably, instead, mutually inclusive.

In my own practice, I find that most organizations' #1 problem is communication. People don’t disagree with each other. They simply fail to talk through issues and eventually start to emotionally withdraw. Left unaddressed, people retreat to their own silo’s and it becomes us against them. Now the tragedy of this whole deal is that they really wanted the same thing all along, they just failed to practice healthy communication.

Think about what a difference it would make in your relationships if you started from the premise that you and the other person really did want the best for each other. Thinking that way would encourage you to indeed create a shared pool of meaning. You could then work together to create a better future together or go your own way. Either way you both win.

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