Conflict often means that the possibility for change is in the air and people, we just don’t like that. Think about it. The greatest pushback often comes related to change and change often comes as a result of conflict and difference.
Difference of opinion, difference of perspective, culture, values, experience, I could go on, but you know what I’m saying.
If we look at the conflicts in the U.S. and the rest of the world, the biggest upset and uproar is about change. People want what makes them comfortable and what they consider to be working for them. When someone speaks up to suggest that “the norm” is not working for them, it often creates fear and that fear is about change.
We see change as disruptive, uncomfortable, too much work and unnecessary. My favorite fear injector is Ms. Serena Williams. She literally wraps herself in a cape that injects the fear of a different body type, skin color, social class, unconventional education on and access to the sport, wins, outfits and “I don’t give a damn confidence.” I love it because she is the perfect example of raising the opportunity to examine fear by way of conflict and change.
Looking at the people and the voices that are shaping society these days, we better get used to change and learn to start calling out a lot of our objections as fear.
Cries of “immigrants are ruining our country,” “I don’t know whether they are a boy or a girl,” “ I want the ladies room to be a ladies room and a men’s room to be just that,” “why do we need diversity?” “why are women coming forward now with these allegations of sexual harassment and abuse?” and “we can’t just make things easier for people with learning disabilities that’s dumbing things down” are all being widely challenged and rightfully so.
The world is changing, because it is meant to and for so long it remained too close to the same. Conflicts are happening at an even greater rate and even closer to home because change is pushing back against fear. It’s time to face fear and get better at handling conflict and change especially if you think you are already doing that.
Sit somewhere and be honest with yourself. What are the changes happening in the world that you don’t understand, having a hard time figuring out or make you feel uncomfortable? Don’t pick something like so much hatred, because it’s too easy to look righteous with that one. No, pick something like all these changes in technology or all this “new age parenting” or having to introduce yourself using pronouns or why is every conversation about race?
Check out what’s underneath that. In other words, dig deep into your fears around it and list them.
Now pick one and try to see if you can get to the other side of it by talking with reading about someone who has the opposite point of view.
Start to address your fears by taking this on with the intent of acknowledging the change that is coming and the new perspective this could bring you.
I want us all to be ready for conflict and change, because it is never going away and in fact, I see it increasing and that’s a good thing.
Let’s grow forward in conflict together.
In addition, take the Leadership Assessment Quiz here to find out how healthy or unhealthy your team is.