Conflict in the workplace doesn’t have to reduce overall career wellbeing.
But we think that it does for three reasons:
- We think that work (and by extension careers) should be utilitarian pursuits, focused on drudgery, repetition and boredom. Which is an attitude remaining in the Western Culture from our agriculture and industrial past.
- We don’t really believe that work (and by extensions careers) can change. We have thoroughly accepted the idea (pushed by industrialists, politicians, and the media) that “that’s just the way that it is.” And we are so trammeled in our cages of fear of being fired, that we will do anything not to make changes that will affect our wellbeing positively.
- We frame material promotions and financial advancements, in the workplace as metrics of approval and signs that we are accomplishing good work. Partly this is because of the way that we think work should be. It is also partly because the value of work relationships cannot yet be monetized.
So, we believe these three things about work at varying levels in varying positions in the organizational hierarchies we find ourselves, and then we are surprised, disappointed and frustrated when difficulties, confrontations and conflicts arise.
What’s the way out?
We have to let go and stop thinking of ourselves as hostages to the workplace.
We have to do the dance with fear, increasing the tension between difficulty, confrontation and conflict, in order to accomplish material changes that will bring about the career wellbeing we crave—and that will change the cultures of the organizations we currently inhabit.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org