Conflict: Type A versus Type C: From theory to reality

Conflict when dealing with employees,  teams, or families is something that is inevitable. Conflict is what allows innovation to occur. Ideas and the status quo have to be challenged in order to continue to meet the demanding needs of the world today. Type A conflict, however, is what usually gets people in trouble. It’s the type of conflict when it becomes personal when instead of challenging an idea the individual holding that idea is insulted. Many a brainstorming session has been ruined by people attacking the individual who shares an off the wall idea, many of which actually become something huge. Type C conflict, on the other hand, is the type of conflict that we want to foster in our workplaces and even in our families. This is where we challenge the idea, working along with the owner of the thought through dialogue.

So my story begins. I created a little bit of Facebook drama the other day, unintentionally, of course, by stating my opinion on a particular issue of parenting. I am NOT going to rehash the entire argument, there’s no need to go there again, but I do want to discuss the lesson that I learned. My strong opinion may have gotten a little personal. That’s when everything went awry. I really insulted somebody, actually a lot of somebodies. My opinion is clearly different than the majority, and I’m okay with that. My intention was to create a dialogue about something I find important. However, my choice of words turned it into something else. The power of words, it’s very real. So much of what we call bullying these days is all designed through words.

I intended to challenge an idea, by using Type C conflict, but with a choice of words it turned ugly and it became Type A conflict. It just goes to show how important it is to pay attention to what we do and say. While I certainly stand by my thoughts,  next time I want to voice my opinion, I’ll think a bit more before I open my mouth, or in this case, my status box.

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