“In many ways, conflict can be productive,” writes Sam Deep, co-author of What to Ask When You Don’t Know What to Say. “Like a grain of sand in an oyster, it can produce ‘pearls’ by encouraging creative thinking, risk-taking and entrepreneurial spirit.”
It’s not unusual for most people to hate confrontation; in fact, it’s difficult for most people to skillfully handle any kind of conflict — at home or in the workplace. And yet, the benefits of doing so include more self-confidence, less anger, greater self-respect, and more intimacy, according to Tim Ursiny, author of The Coward’s Guide to Conflict: Empowering Solutions for Those Who Would Rather Run than Fight. His book outlines practical tips for dealing with conflict with family members, friends, and co-workers, including the following:
- Focus on the upside. Conflict avoiders often perceive only the downside. They need to see the positive side of confronting someone.
- Start by finding something that you both agree on (even if it’s only 1%).
- Admit your role. If you are even partly at fault, be sure to acknowledge your mistake up front.
- Don’t react with anger. This is vital! Realize that you might behave like the other person if you were in their shoes. Look objectively at your behavior as well as the other person’s.