Constructive Conflict


All the time in our daily lives, we come across people arguing with each other. At times, it just makes you wonder why can’t people agree with each other for a change. Whether its your local groceries store, while traveling in a bus, discussion with friends or a boardroom meeting, arguments and debates are happening everywhere.

In this modern era of knowledge economies and the information revolution going all around us, everyone has access to facts and as they say everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. As a consequence, the number of opinions are equal to the number of minds inside a room.

But in an argument whenever you say “I am entitled to my opinion”, have you ever tried to give a thought that so is the person at the front. And hence, instead of arguing with one another to prove yourself correct, try giving a lending ear to your opponent. Analyzing your opponent’s thoughts might prove to be quite an educating experience for you as you start viewing the things from other side of the fence. As you put yourself in your opponent’s shoes your empathetic towards your rival and hence, strong negative emotions suddenly start disappearing and you are able think more clearly. Result..a healthy debate or as they term it in management and corporate culture a “Constructive Conflict” ensues.

Unfortunately, not many cultures around the world give much of significance to listening. Japanese for one, have a different style of communicating and place a great deal of attention to what is being communicated to them. They are adept listeners and observe minute details, like body language and tone of the speaker, while the conversation happens.

While a constructive conflict sounds very much like an ideal case scenario, the practical situation as we had learned way back in our science classes, is quite different from the theory. In real world, there are heated debates, aggressive arguments and lot of negative emotions and live drama is involved.

Sadly, none of the solutions discussed in our conflict management classes are utilized in pragmatic situations in life. This is mainly because rarely people have the level of patience and a balanced sense of understanding while they are engrossed in a fiery exchange of words. Clearly, high level of self awareness is an exceptional trait.

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