In order to achieve their purpose people have to form effective working relationships. In every case, no matter what other qualities an effective relationship has, it must include the capacity of those involved to connect over what matters, and make progress on relevant issues. In other respects relationships may be imbued with fondness and trust, or dislike and distrust – or they may lie anywhere along the continuum between the two.
Differences are unavoidable in long-term relationships. The best steps forward often arise from being fully conscious of differences while maintaining productive communication. Such constructive conflict builds connectivity as well as creativity, and enhances the quality of decision-making. As a result, work life becomes more satisfying, as well as being more innovative and productive.
I’ve grown to understand that the underlying causes of destructive conflict are often rooted in organizational functioning. Simply stated, groups who don’t evolve and develop become static and ineffective leading to a host of problems that contribute to unnecessary conflict. Growth and development are part and parcel of being effective in differences.
To maximally build the competency of its teams an organization must create a developmentally focused and conflict conscious culture. This means acceptance of the inevitability of conflict coupled with attitudes and methodologies that address it effectively. It also means an emphasis on individual growth and organizational evolution.
Individuals know when they become part of the organization that certain competencies are expected. They also know that they must be actively involved in becoming more capable at both technical and interpersonal ‘soft’ skills; that is, they must be actively involved in organizational practices that accelerate their holistic development.
Naturally, I want to be maximally effective in assisting individuals and organizations. For reasons outlined above I find that the most beneficial assistance I can provide as a mediator in conflict situations includes developmental components. Likewise, when I work as a consultant to support organizational development, my activities include those that address destructive conflicts and support constructive conflict engagement.