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When tensions arise at work, the first thing many of us do is avoid it. We imagine that there is a pain-free way through this. Yet, if we avoid conflict we give up. “Conflict itself is, of course, a sign of relative health as you would know if you ever met people who have given up hoping, striving, and coping.” (Abraham Maslow, American psychologist 1908—1970)

Or we learn nothing, stagnate and stay with our existing mindset and beliefs: “Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” (William Ellery Channing, US Abolitionist and clergyman, 1780-1842)

Alternatively, we fight, ensuring we have ‘the facts’ at hand to prove or defend our position, we seek allies and supporters, we refer to policy documents and legal rights, but the problem is that “a war regarded as inevitable has a very good chance of eventually being fought.” (Anais Nin, 1903-1977, French-born American writer and psychoanalyst)

However, the best option is to engage in an exchange with the other person, where you listen and communicate with the intention of building understanding – that’s all.  Not proving right or wrong because “If we can really understand the problem the answer will come out of it because the answer is not separate from the problem.”(Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian guru 1895—1986)