Productive Conflict: Pause & Reflect

Because conflict involves strong emotions, it has the power to overwhelm people. That looks different for everyone. For example, overwhelmed people with the C style and S styles may shut down, whereas those with the i style and D styles may keeping pushing their point.

Regardless, conflict affects everyone.

We all need to pause and reflect, often during the conflict. During a conflict it’s easier to follow our natural tendencies of overpowering, arguing, withdrawing, stonewalling, or any of the other destructive behaviors discussed in a previous series about what not to do during conflict (begin series here). It’s much more difficult to stop yourself and allow yourself to reframe your thoughts and reflect on your own actions and reactions to the situation. But that’s exactly what’s needed, especially as tensions rise, emotion takes hold, and we start to engage in destructive conflict behaviors.

By mentally stepping back in the moment to either pause and reflect right then, or asking for a break in order to pause and reflect, you are moving the conflict in to more productive realms, where emotion isn’t dominating the conflict.

When we take a moment to pause and reflect, we are able to see things more clearly and objectively.

We allow our emotions to simmer down and our minds reevaluate the situation with more understanding, logic, and humility.

Destructive conflict behaviors such as belittling, passive-aggression, sarcasm, and others never move a conversation toward productivity. Nor do they lead to trust among team members. Taking some time to pause and reflect could make all the difference.

Pausing and reflecting may come more naturally for those with the C style and S style than for those with the D style and i style.

This is the 12th post in an 18-part series discussing positive conflict behaviors. Effective leaders encourage productive conflict and discourage unproductive conflict. Follow along as we explore the positive impact of these behaviors.

Part 1: Finding the Root of the Problem
Part 2: Apologize
Part 3: Listen to Differing Perspectives
Part 4: Bring in a Neutral Perspective
Part 5: Separate Emotion from Fact
Part 6: Own Your Contributions
Part 7: Offer Reassurance
Part 8: Find a Compromise
Part 9: Give Others Time and Space
Part 10: Acknowledge the Feelings of Others
Part 11: Revisit Unresolved Issues

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *