Are You in Opposition or Conflict? 🤔

career advice conflict conflict management opposition team building workplace conflict May 31, 2024

Are You in Opposition or Conflict with Your Peers?

I recently posted a note on LinkedIn about my son winning the Hughie Langin "Up and Coming” talent award for a music program he is entering at NSCC next year. It was a beautiful night of music, community, collaboration, and tributes to Hughie Langin - who the awards are named after.

What got my attention, though, beyond the wonderful way the program was sharing an individuals’ legacy as part of their corporate story, was the statement by two of my son’s future instructors.

They said in the 15 years they’d been working together, they’ve never had an argument. Their conversations were more about sharing ideas and if there were roadblocks, figuring out how to get around them. They struck me as individuals who are both highly creative, inspired by their work, and focused on both their individual passions and the outcomes of the organization’s.

All signs of a high performing team.

And even though they lack conflict, they likely have a healthy level of opposition which keeps the working relationships positive and energizing.

In the Core Strengths workshop I facilitate with teams, we talk about Opposition versus Conflict.

Here’s a little reminder of the differences between the two.

Opposition is about disagreement; Conflict is about a threat to values.

Opposition can be productive; Conflict is usually unproductive.

People go into conflict only about things that are important to them. Values that they hold. And it can be an opportunity to learn what matters to you and a chance to recalibrate what you’re bringing to the relationship to get back to a healthy opposition.

Do you want to help your team connect and build stronger relationships? Start by uncovering your opposition vs. conflict.

Here’s how I approach this as part of my team development program:

It begins with a foundational Core Strengths workshop. In this we uncover and identify strengths and potential strengths overdone. We dig into how we can better communicate to build stronger working relationships, both when things are going well (and there’s healthy opposition) and in more challenging circumstances, when conflict arises.

But if you’re reading this and have already gone through the foundational Core Strengths workshop with me, what do you do now? You keep growing your communication and team analytical skills. When was the last time you got together as a team to recognize individual and collective achievements? To discuss creative tensions? To motivate each other when challenging circumstances arise? That’s where I recommend you start. 

And if you’d like guidance in those conversations, or structure for the team, I have one hour virtual refresher sessions designed to help keep the team embedding the learning and celebrating their strengths:

  • Rewards & Recognition – How to Give Feedback that Motivates
  • Turning Conflict into Clarity

Wishing You Career Success,

Karen Kelloway, BPR PCC
Your Career Story Editor