One of my clients has been dealing with a draining conflict at work. She is part of a team and one member of the team creates conflict. When not under pressure or displeased, she is a high producer and a very giving and nice person. When stress or unhappiness with a co-worker hits, she turns into a completely different person. She hovers over team members to demand things and talks to them as if their ideas do not matter and to make matters worse, she is protected by management.
My client saw herself acting in ways that she did not like when confronted by this woman and tried many things to lessen the tension and resolve the conflict. She tried to ignore, react differently, speak to their manager who did not take any action and still the conflict continues. This is work at a job that she otherwise enjoys and provides substantial financial support.
Frustrated, hurt and finding herself once again faced with a reaction from herself that she does not like, she called to talk with me last week. What was wonderful was that in the moment of the height of her feelings, she reached out, but I was not available. She reached out to someone else who gave her advice that she was not sure she agreed with, but it caused her to pause and think.
Once I returned her call, she had taken full advantage of that pause and had come to a revolutionary and powerful conclusion. “I decided that I am going to spend time searching within myself for the reasons that she triggers me the way she does and why I react the way I do. She is most likely not going to change anytime soon and I am not leaving so I want to learn from this opportunity.”
Joy leapt in my heart. I told her that most people would not understand the power in that approach. To disempower her team member from within is an acknowledgement of the fact that conflict is here to teach us something about ourselves, a most unwelcome truth for most of my clients and their friends and family. Friends and family will often vehemently disagree and
say, “Why is it on you to change? She’s in the wrong.”
Yes she is, but there is also something else happening, something we all have access to if we are willing to learn it. When we can explore our own feelings and reactions to people and circumstances and understand why they affect us the way they do, we can change the power dynamic by no longer reacting as we do. We can sit in, feel and then let go of the feelings created thereby clearing the mind and the heart space for making the most confident, productive and powerful decision about how best to respond.
That’s next level conflict resolution folks and she’s taking it on! It won’t be a perfect or easy journey, but she will come out on the other side more empowered and knowledgeable.
Are you ready to do the same? If not, stay tuned for my free video on the first steps you can take to get you there.
Congratulations to my client in her growth!
Last chance to join our group, On The Matter of Race. We begin tomorrow!
Take the Leadership Assessment Quiz here to find out how healthy or unhealthy your team is.