I’ve been slowly reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” over the summer following a recommendation from a friend at the gym. It certainly has been a workout for my mind. I wasn’t anticipating that it would necessarily cross over with our work in effective conflict management but having wrestled through extensive analysis of the ego and how it gets in our way, I was very taken by a short chapter called “Do you want Peace or Drama”. Because I think it is so relevant I have synopsised it here for you
“You want peace. There is no one who does not want peace.
Yet there is something else in you that wants the conflict. You may not be able to feel it at this moment. You may have to wait for a situation or even just a thought that triggers a reaction in you: someone accusing you of this or that, not acknowledging you, encroaching on your territory, questioning the way you do things, an argument about money ….
Can you then feel the enormous surge of force moving through you, the fear, perhaps being masked by anger or hostility? Can you hear your own voice becoming harsh or shrill, or louder? Can you be aware of your mind racing to defend its position, justify, attack, blame? Can you feel that there is something in you that is at war, something that feels threatened and wants to survive at all cost, that needs the conflict in order to assert its identity as the victor?
Can you feel that there is something in you that would rather be right ….. Than at peace?”
We always ask new clients if they consider that workplace conflict is inevitable and inevitably the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’ even though they’re not often sure why. I think Eckhart Tolle provides a pretty good answer.
Badly managed workplace conflict is a hindrance to your organisations vision and diminishes your capacity to maximise performance management. Thankfully, you can leverage the positives in conflict to achieve your organisations goals by building self-awareness, understanding your own constructive and destructive behaviours and building appropriate skills to help you manage conflict effectively.