Conflict – Embrace or Avoid?

This month’s blog post is from TIERNEY Leadership Coach & Faciltator, Amie Garcia

Most of my life I’ve been afraid of stepping on toes, offending someone, generally wanting to avoid conflict and keep the peace. Who here relates to that?

In recent years I have learned to embrace conflict rather than avoid it.

My new perspective is that conflict is the place where deeper connection and innovative new ideas can be created. It’s the place where magic happens.

I bet you can quickly conjure up an argument & resolution you had with a loved one or co-worker where you actually grew closer or your relationship shifted to better suit both of your needs.

The thing is, we don’t have to wait until we’re about to burst to share, give feedback, or lean into the conflict.

And, we don’t have to pretend to have it all together either.

This was reinforced for me through participating in an Interpersonal Dynamics T-Group Weekend through Stanford Graduate School of Business recently. 

I noticed that when I shared my messy feelings, my uncertainty, and when I allowed myself to be imperfect and shared that, it actually created a deeper connection with others in the group.

Deeper connection creates trust, and trust is the “glue of life” (Stephen Covey).

Getting there starts with self-awareness. Being in connection with ourselves and what’s going on inside of us.

It means not just barreling through our days, going from meeting to meeting, task to task, but stopping every once in a while to pause and get in touch with how we are feeling, what needs are being met or unmet.

Then, when we’re ready, or even better, even if we’re not, sharing these feelings & needs with others.

Part of my work week now includes a practice of being present with my feelings & needs, getting out of my head and connecting to my whole self. It’s not perfect and is likely going to be a lifetime of work.

Some of you may resonate with this:

I find that the hardest part is remembering to pause, even if briefly, throughout the day. The second hardest part is sharing those feelings before I’m “ready”.

But the results are so worth it!

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