We recently took a family holiday in Lake Garda. Knowing that the temperatures would be hot, we also knew to expect Mosquitos! Before we left I talked to a number of pharmacists about how to avoid the dreaded Mosquito bite and read up on as much as I could! I heard about their preference for different blood types, how they use body heat to identify humans etc.. etc.. I was given antihistamine and advised to take Garlic pills and by another, Vitamin B. I divvied up the various pills to all the family one week in advance delighted that I had finally nailed it!
Week one…, we all had more mosquito bites than ever before to the point where I wondered were the Mosquitos relishing the Garlic and Vitamin B! I despaired! Some of the family were bitten more than others and we all seemed to react differently.
However, the antihistamine did soften the blow – the bites were not as aggravated as before, they didn’t cause as much irritation and they disappeared faster.
What has all this got to do with conflict in the workplace you may ask? It struck me that mosquito bites and conflict share many similarities:
• they are both inevitable and unavoidable
• while we cannot avoid them, we can take steps to minimise the impact
• there are many theories about what works and what doesn’t
• at the end of the day nobody has the full picture about how it works
• what works for you sometimes comes down to trial and error in your unique circumstance
So, to be effective at managing conflict takes time and patience and constant persistence. We need to use different tools and focus on avoidance but when conflict does occur, there is a great deal we can do to ‘soften the blow’ and work through it more positively.
What’s the equivalent of your antihistamine when you experience conflict?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.