As mentioned in a previous post the art of collaboration is turning conflict into a positive force.  To some people the mere mention of the word CONFLICT is a negative that should be avoided at all costs.  To others CONFLICT is exciting and creates an adrenalin rush!  How then do we find a balance, a fulcrum point on this spectrum?  A space, where CONFLICT is welcomed and the energy is used to drive forward a creative process?

A useful way of finding this fulcrum point is to value yourself and others equally.  In a collaborative setting the outcome is the solution, the process of achieving the outcome is fluid.  The key is engaging with others to drive the ideas and contributions generated by the group to a point where the creative tension gives rise to the synergistic solution.  This process works when all individuals within the group are able to de-personalise ideas.  Ideas are not people and people are not their ideas.  By all means challenge the idea and respect the person contributing the idea.  Equally, be open to your ideas being challenged and respect the person challenging your idea.

De-personalising an idea from the person contributing the idea is a key principle.  This creates the environment of TRUST where collaboration develops. In conflict management respecting the other person’s model of the world is a foundation to success.  By INTEGRATING a high regard for others with an equally high regard for self, you will be response-able for ensuring all contributions are considered within the overall outcome of the group.  Doing this will ensure that all members of the group are able to contribute and that all views are heard.

Where an individual has a higher regard for themselves over their regard for others, this may well lead to this individual attempting to DOMINATE the group and they may not take too kindly to having their ideas challenged.  Equally, at the same time, where an individual has a higher regard for others over their regard for themselves this may lead to that individual OBLIGING to every suggestion from others without ever contributing their own ideas.  Where an individual prefers to withdraw from situations such as these its may well be that this individual has an equally low regard for others and self.  AVOIDING this process only leads to greater and more destructive conflict at a later date.

In a collaborative relationship, the answer to the question in the title to this post, both self and others are equally important.

I would like to acknowledge ‘Styles of Handling Interpersonal Conflict (Rahim & Magner, 1995, p.123) in the compilation of this blog.

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