Our ability to develop relationships with others determines how successful we will be in our workplace and in our relationships outside of work.
People are not born with the natural abilities to develop and build great relationships with others whether this be our partner, employees, suppliers or customers.
Our childhood forms the foundation of our emotional intelligence skills, this is where we learn to communicate, express emotion, show affection, manage conflict and adversity and more.
We are also conditioned from a young age that conflict is a bad or negative thing when in actual fact conflict is growth trying to happen – we just resist it because it feels uncomfortable. EQ skills are integral to life, our relationships and leadership capabilities irrespective of our job title.
These are skills like any other that can be learned and mastered if one recognises the benefit and takes the time and effort to develop them.
Embracing Conflict will give you insights and tools to manage and overcome any challenges you may be facing in your life. It will enable you to have deeper levels of self-awareness and mindfulness and will empower you to make better decisions in your life.
In romantic relationships, there is a typical relationship cycle that all couples experience but most get stuck in the Power Struggle phase. This is where frustrations and negativity become more regular and as we start to focus more on what we are not getting from our relationship on partner. If not managed, this phase can soon turn into a toxic downward spiral leading to break-up or divorce.
So how do you turn conflict into growth?
It all starts with intention.
The intention is a positive and connecting goal.
Positive in that the discussion is held in a manner where it is safe to discuss things that matter, where your story is really heard, your point of view is welcomed and accepted and you feel connected.
The goal is that there is a positive, solution orientated outcome
When the space between two people feels safe, there is connection.
When in the Power Struggle phase we are in a reactive state of mind vs. a solution orientated frame of mind. A number of traits take place when in this phase:
- We experience differences as negative trying to prove we’re right and the other is wrong
- We listen with a view to proving the wrong
- We make assumptions about our partner and/or the situation
- We ask questions to get upper hand
- We interrupt or change the subject
- We criticize, find fault and regard their experience invalid
- We use silence as a weapon
When the relational space is safe and a dialogue is taking place with a positive, solution orientated outcome then the following traits are displayed.
- We regard differences as opportunities for growth and have a curious mindset as to where the other is coming from and are interested in learning more
- We listen to really understand our partner and where they are coming from
- We talk on own behalf without making assumptions about our partner
- We ask questions to get a deeper understanding
- We allow our partner to fully express themselves and their story they are sharing with us
- We accept their experience and views as valid and true for him/her
- We treat silence with respect
Often we listen to respond and not really hear what the other is saying and where they are coming from. Perhaps this is why we have two ears and one mouth – so we can listen twice as much as we speak.
When we stop seeing conflict as a negative and try to avoid it at all costs and rather see it as an opportunity for growth, our relationships will be much healthier and happier as the connection will be deeper and stronger.