Kate and I coach others through conflict situations and difficult conversations. We often get asked incredulous questions like “How do you do this kind of work everyday?” or “You spend all day dealing with conflict?” and frequently “Why would you want to do that?”
The truth is, we love it! It’s sick, right? Why would anyone want to spend all day in conflict, even if it is someone else’s?
The long answer is that conflict exists because people care about the outcome. If it isn’t important to me, why go through the pain associated with it? Makes sense, right? And that’s why we do this. Everyone involved cares deeply about the outcome, or they wouldn’t be here. Parties may disagree on the best solution, or the steps needed to resolve the issue, but they care about the issue.
So when I get asked questions like those, I’m not focused on the conflict, I ‘m focused on the people who truly care about reaching a resolution.
Now, I’m not stupid, I know that we don’t always (or even often) end with a kumbaya moment. But we end with a resolution, we end with a workable agreement, we end knowing how we are going to work together going forward (and the answer may be that we're NOT all going to work together anymore, but at least we've decided that, we've said that, we've owned that).