Defining conflict


If I say conflict is good, I often get silence.  Likely, its because I have an internal definition of what I mean by conflict that I am not expressing very well.  I am using this post to try and flesh that out as simply as I can.  Conflict about work is good.  Conflict about personality or differences in values can be bad-but not always.  Conflict comes in many forms–loud voices is only one of them.  Anger need not be part of conflict at all.  Healthy conflict is about recognizing incongruence–and saying something about it–even if it might be about personality and values.  One can recognize incongruence and say nothing.  This is false harmony and is bad–maybe worse than not recognizing it at all.

Three levels of interaction:

  • Ignorance–no exploration for and no notice of differences.  No discussion.
  • False harmony–recognition of differences.  No discussion of those differences.
  • Healthy conflict–recognition of differences.  Discussion of those differences.
Jonathan Shaver