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Conflict in the workplace

Last year I experienced intense conflict with two people in different working areas. I got through this conflict – with support – but not in the way you might expect.

It was a painful experience as well as a steep learning curve for me. I came to understand that resolving a conflict can mean that the parties restore trust and connection or not. People bring willingness, time and energy to understand each other. The outcome remains open. The solution, whatever it looks like, is co-created and works for both sides. 

This might not always happen, even though both sides start with the best intentions. In my two scenarios it didn’t work out and we stopped working together.

Looking back I feel some sadness and I have a sense of grief about the loss of connection and opportunities to work with these two people. We had willingness to put effort into the connection and it took months to understand and process what made it difficult to restore trust and connection.

Taking responsibility for my triggers

I want to take responsibility for my triggers in both scenarios, so I can learn and grow and even find healing for old pain. 

Old pain means needs that haven’t been met for a long time. In my case, I have an old pain related to core beliefs that My needs don’t matter. I don’t matter.  

Returning to the present, I understand that the cause of my unpleasant feelings was unmet needs. In this case, I needed a mutual understanding of community, and the partnership paradigm, shared responsibility, shared risks, and group decision-making processes.

I also noticed how important it is for me to find clarity and mutual understanding in a team, how to address situations around disagreements and how to act when tension arises.

And underlying all of this is the old question: Do I matter?

Learning for the future

Here are some things I’d like to explore in teams I’m part of:  

  • How do we give and receive values-based feedback?
  • How do we hold feedback from other people about our colleagues?
  • Are we aware when we are starting to feel resentful?
  • When to speak up so that the conflict doesn’t escalate between us?
  • When do we have a Giraffe Divorce, parting company with mutual respect, mourning and gratitude for what we’ve done together?  

All learning for the future. 

For more information about our NVC in the workplace offerings, click here: Corporate Away Days or visit the Seed of Peace CIC page on LinkedIn.

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