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Chapter 20. Real Conflict and What to Do... > Is Conflict Always Bad? - Pg. 213

Real Conflict and What to Do About It 213 This Won't Work! Even with conflict that has gone down the bad path, you'd be amazed at how the situation can still be turned around if you keep focused on the issues, and don't get pulled into using any difficult tactics. Apart from the frustration, this kind of long-term conflict doesn't add value for anyone, because it doesn't usually result in any creative solutions. Sometimes it never results in any solution. There are a few things to consider here. First, if bad conflict can emerge from good conflict situations over time, it's important to address substantive conflict as early as possible. Don't let the issue become a nagging one. Second, bad conflict can escalate into ugly conflict, which we will discuss in the next section. Third, it takes only one person to move a good conflict into a bad one or worse. That means it's absolutely essential you don't start acting difficult as you get frustrated. Keep your eye on the prize; work towards the best solution possible rather than acting out your frustrations. Conflict: The Ugly Ugly conflict is really personalized conflict. The issues have been lost. So much junk has occurred that whatever the original issue was, the parties are no longer looking to solve it, but to get back at each other or to win at all costs. The agenda has shifted. From the Manager's Desk With an ugly personalized conflict involving a co-worker, it may be necessary to look for some outside assis- tance. You might ask someone to mediate or even decide the issue. Often your boss is a good resource if he or she is willing and able. We don't need to discuss this in much depth because we've already outlined many of the difficult behaviors people use, and boy, do they use them in a personalized, ugly-conflict situation. There's game playing. There's personal attacks and politicking. There's a lack of listening, and on and on. You don't want to go there. As with the bad conflict situations, it takes only one person to push a conflict into this arena. So, make sure it's not you. Stay focused on the problem issue. Don't let your frustration turn you into a difficult person, because if you do, you can pretty much bet the other person is going to escalate and get more difficult.