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Why You Should Be Happy About Conflict

Source |  |  BY:Betty Liu, Founder/CEO at Radiate, Inc.

We’ve all been there. Your blood pressure rises, words trip out of your mouth, you are blinking in disbelief. You’re asking yourself: How can this person not “get” what I’m saying?

Truth is they are probably asking themselves the same thing.

This is an all too common scene in the workplace. Conflict is something you’ve been told since your first summer job to avoid whenever possible. Work is supposed to be about teamwork and collaboration towards a common goal, not about conflicting opinions and raised voices, right?

Many of us are hired for our unique way of looking at the world, for the ideas that we bring to our organizations. Same story with the people around us. So why are we surprised when not everyone shares our point of view? By design, they shouldn’t!

Whether we like it or not, conflict shows that we are engaged in our jobs. Our quest to assert our opinions over a task, or an aspect of work shows that we care. And I don’t know about you, but give me this over apathy any day!

But something is not working when just over 70% of American workers are described as disengaged from their jobs. Could this disengagement be linked towards our resistance to conflict? As author Daniel Pink discusses in one of his talks, one of the factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction is autonomy. Pink describes autonomy as our “desire to be self-directed, to direct our own lives. In many ways, traditional notions of management run foul of this. Management is great if you want compliance, but if you want engagement…self-direction is better.”


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