The part of the conflict process that is addressed the least (and the most) is the uncomfortable part.
Not the scary part, where you’re actually doing the hard work of resolving an issue with people that you may (or may not) like.
Not the uncomfortable part that comes after you’ve decided to do the work and now you have a choice of whether or not to continue forward when the going forward becomes difficult.
Not the difficult part that comes when you decide to take a step back and examine the entire conflict process and determine where your emotions are coming from.
The most uncomfortable part comes at the beginning of the conflict process, when the resistance is at the highest, and the need for assurance is the most critical, and when you are looking into the eyes of the other party and think:
“This isn’t going to work out.”
That’s the most uncomfortable part.
And we talk almost not at all about it because to do so would be to acknowledge that we might not be emotionally, spiritually, and even physically, strong enough to manage the ups and downs of a process we’d rather avoid.
But the uncomfortable part comes before avoiding. It comes before surrendering. It comes before delaying. It comes before confronting. And it comes before engaging.
The people who can stare the uncomfortable part of the conflict process in the face—and not blink—will be the people who will create teams, that will form organizations, that will win the future, by doing emotional work first, and every other labor second.
It all starts with being able to stare being uncomfortable in the face.