Work life is messy. Political. Uncomfortable.
At one point or another, a work situation will make you feel angry, depressed, powerless, betrayed, under siege, less than, disrespected, fearful or another negative emotion.
Conflict is a constant. You must accept that truth.
If it’s not happening now, it will later. Remember, if you’re in the thick of it now—this too shall pass.
I think many of us try to avoid conflict. (I know I have…)
Conflict is pain. We think, if I go to another company, it will be different, it will be better. And it may very well be better… Some corporate cultures are better at making employees feel secure and appreciated. But there will always be conflict at work. Always. You can’t run from it. Even if you try, the conflict will find you.
When the conflict inevitably arises, we often feel like, maybe there’s something wrong with me? Why does this keep happening to me?
Conflict at work is universal. It happens to every one of us.
Other people will try to push a narrative that makes you feel like you are the only one. Or you are not enough… or that you are missing some essential element. That’s why this is happening…
So what? Does that mean game over? Stop what you’re doing. Put your stuff down. Walk out and quit.
You may very well be deficient in an area. You may have some skill or knowledge gaps you need to shore up. If you do, own it. Be honest with yourself. Self-awareness is a gift. Shore up the weakness.
However, there is another kind of conflict that has nothing to do with your skill or knowledge gaps. Remember OPP? (other people’s problems). If you’re a child of the 90s, you’ll remember this hip hop classic.
OPP – How can I frame it?
You’ll notice that the moment you start getting success, you win something huge, get promoted, or put in your 110% best effort — that’s the moment conflict (from OPP) will sucker-punch you in the face, when you least expect it.
They will try to tell you that you failed to follow a rule.
They will try to tell you that your success – oh that wasn’t you, it was this other guy who did it.
They will try to question why you didn’t get this or that done already.
They will bring the fight to you.
You will feel angry, depressed, powerless, betrayed, under siege, less than, disrespected, fearful or another negative emotion.
But guess what? THEY can’t make you feel anything. YOU get to choose how you feel about any given circumstance.
They say — you’re not ready for this role. You can think – Yes I am. And I will show you otherwise. I will outperform anyone in this role. In fact, you’ll be working for me soon.
They say — you will fail. You can think – No I will succeed, and you will know it later when I surpass you and you’re looking to me for approval.
They say — you just don’t have “it.” You can think – Not only do I have it. I am IT.
OR – you can choose to believe them to avoid conflict. You can salute to them and say, “Roger that. Tell me what I should do next, sir.”
Know that-if you do that, you let them win. You let them dictate what to believe about yourself, your worth, and your capabilities.
You choose what to believe about yourself.
You can look at conflict with the fear that people won’t like you. They won’t like what you have to say. They won’t like that you believe in yourself and your capabilities.
That’s right. People won’t like you. Get over it. Did you ever expect everyone to like you? Do you like everyone you meet? Why would you expect everyone you meet to like you? They won’t.
So let’s reframe conflict at work. It’s an opportunity to succeed. It’s an opportunity to crush it. It’s an opportunity to prove the doubters and the haters wrong. If no one bothers to bring the fight to you, all it means is that they don’t view you as a worthy opponent right now.
Conflict is good.
Without conflict, there is no chance to prove yourself.
Without conflict, there is no growth.
Without conflict, there is no victory.
Without conflict, there is no strength.
We must not avoid conflict. We must expect it and run into it.
My hope is that you found strength in this, if you needed it. As always, the community and I would love to hear your comments on this subject, so please hit like or reply with your feedback.
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