Conflict Doesn’t Have To be Destructive
I’ve always had a problem with the notion of conflict reduction, management, or mediation. All of these concepts imply that conflict is something to be lessened or eradicated, as if it’s fundamentally a bad thing.
I’m not surprised that many people would view conflict this way. Look around: Divisive political rhetoric, religious polarization, and global ideological warfare. Everywhere you look, conflict is generating casualties.
Why wouldn’t people want to avoid or control it?
I’m no stranger to destructive conflict.
I’ve seen the casualties firsthand. In high school, I lived in Botswana during the reign of apartheid in South Africa. I witnessed police raids, murders of innocent political refugees, and car bombs that left a million pieces of flesh, metal and clothing impaled on the thorns of an acacia tree.
As a licensed clinical psychologist I’ve worked with victims of domestic violence who fear for their own lives and the lives of their children.
I’ve mediated conflicts between divorcing parents and feuding executives who want nothing more than to destroy the other person’s life and spirit.
I’ve coached pastors who were pushed out of their congregations by corrupt bishops who abused their authority.
I’ve been framed and fired from a job.
Through it all, I’ve had the good fortune to have parents, mentors, and friends who believed there had to be a better way. They didn’t reject conflict; they just knew there was a better way to use it. I listened and learned from them. I understood that eliminating the casualties of conflict cannot happen by repressing the conflict and just “being nice.” It happens by stewarding the energy inherent in conflict to make something positive, even amazing.
My new book, Conflict Without Casualties, coming out in this Spring, is our treatise on this topic.
You can engage in conflict without casualties. We have spent a decade teaching, coaching and advising thousands of people on how to do this, refining and improving our methods over time. From Fortune 500 executives to pastors of the smallest rural churches, the concepts in this book have made a profound difference in how people walk bravely into the battle field of conflict while preserving the dignity of all involved.
I’m passionate about this. Will you join me in transforming the energy of conflict into something amazing?
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