Conflict, Resilience and Leadership by Craig Runde and Pierre Naquet
Improving resilience to become a conflict constructive Leader
When people are asked to describe conflict, they typically use words like “anger” or “frustration.” Conflict is trying for most people. It leads to negative emotions which cause stress. This makes it difficult to respond to it constructively. It’s no wonder why conflict is a key cause of burnout.
Avoiding conflict rarely works. Issues tend to fester, and matters become worse. While it is better to deal with the conflict than avoid it, this can take an emotional toll. Fortunately, finding ways to manage emotions can both help address conflict more effectively and assist in rebounding afterwards. Emerging research has discovered a variety of techniques for managing emotional reactions in conflict. One approach involves diverting one’s attention from the negative thoughts and emotions that have emerged from a conflict. This can be done by focusing on more positive thoughts, sometimes called “going to your happy place.” By thinking about a very positive scene or situation, you can improve your mood and take your thoughts off distressing matters. The cultivation of positive emotions can over time improve one’s mood and this can serve as an antidote to the negative emotions that can emerge in conflicts.
Another method involves the use of mindfulness meditation techniques. These allow you to observe what is happening in the moment in a non-judgmental manner. Mindfulness techniques change the way the brain functions and bring about calmer moods in individuals. Stress associated with conflict is reduced.
The same techniques that help you manage emotions in the middle of conflict are being found to be helpful in enhancing resilience. When people increase their resilience, they can bounce back from the stress of workplace conflict more quickly. This can play a very important part role in improving their overall quality of life.
Craig Runde is a Program Designer, and a Partner & Board Member of the Institute for Workplace Dynamics-IWD – Europe in Paris, France. Pierre Naquet is the President of the Institute for Workplace Dynamics-IWD – Europe in Paris, France.