There is a big misunderstanding among leaders today regarding conflict. Many try to avoid it at all costs, while others wade in like a bull in a china shop creating great destruction for everyone involved. There is healthy and unhealthy conflict. Dan Rockwell shares 5 essentials for healthy conflict.

Guest Post by Dan Rockwell 

Conflict is inevitable. Healthy conflict is rare.

Healthy conflict brings people together.

All conflict needs a positive purpose. Ask yourself, “What are we fighting for?”

Fighting against:

Conflict begins with painful negatives.

  1. I don’t like…
  2. I don’t want…
  3. You never…
  4. You always…
  5. This is your fault.
  6. I can’t believe…
  7. I can’t take this.

Fighting against…

  1. Enflames because it focuses on offenses.
  2. Engages in personal attacks.
  3. Usually misses the point.
  4. Invites defensiveness from others.
  5. Causes people to choose sides

Healthy conflict fights for something:

Develop positive language.

  1. I want…
  2. My goal is…
  3. I’m committed to…
  4. I aspire to…
  5. My intention is…

Change “I” to “we” and “my” to “our.”

5 essentials for healthy conflict:

  1. Requires you to declare yourself. What do you want? Don’t speak for others. Courageously speak for yourself.
  2. Defines success in terms of behaviors. Be simple and specific. What will we do differently? How will we act if we succeed?
  3. Has a shared win. Don’t ask people to fight for something that harms them. The question is, “How will we win?”
  4. Means starting again. Moving forward requires forgiveness. Advancement means letting go of the past.
  5. Demands alignment with shared values.

What enables people to use conflict for good?

What suggestions do you have for strengthening relationships when there’s conflict?

Still curious:

You Might Not Like it but There are 5 Good Things About Conflict

What to Do When You Disagree with Leadership