Chronic Conflict: It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better
Welcome to the talk, a leader podcast where we explore the mindset skill set and habits of leadership communication using these tips, techniques, and tactics. You'll be able to talk like a leader to build better relationships and get more done. Your host is Guy Harris who has more than twenty years of combined professional and military experience in consulting coaching and training in areas like team in interaction dynamics, communication strategies, and tactics as well as emotional intelligence. Take it away. Guy Are this guy. You're welcome to talk leader podcast and this week's episode we're going to talk about the idea of chronic conflict and I'll share perspective with you on how it actually gets worse before it gets better frankly I don't have enough time to cover every new once and subtlety raised by today's topic I do hope to give you something to think about and to thoughtfully consider how to apply to your situation. A. First, let's consider the idea of chronic verses acute. Acute. Problems are those problems that appear suddenly and often with little warning. Chronic. Problems are things that persist for a long time or they're constantly recurring. They might be low level that you're not even completely aware of an sometimes chronic conditions when they're unchecked can reveal themselves and acute problem. So acute problems might actually be chronic problems that were left on addressed. Before we get into the idea of chronic conflict and how it often gets worse before it gets better let type A story about a situation. I had recently talk about my garage I've lived in my house for now just slightly over two and a half years, and when we first moved in, we had a whole bunch of things, all kinds of boxes and tools and miscellaneous stuff that got piled into our garage we moved in and we moved in right before Christmas and it was a very hectic time. There was a lot of family stuff going on we're trying. To coordinate a bunch of things and it sort of made sense to dispel it in the garage move on while it was a little over two and a half years ago we also have two cats that basically call our garage home. So we have two cats plus all this stuff and of course, and a half years a lot of that stuff got covered with cat hair which we cleaned up from time to time. But still got in the nooks and crannies the places where we weren't moving piles around and rearranging boxes to clean up cat hair and dust and spider's. Just, kind of building up in the garage and the cats also kinda liked the paper on the sheet rock and. were, they could get to the walls they scratch some of the walls not badly, but still there was damage to the walls. And over the course of two and a half years we wound up with this mess of cat hair scratched walls, dust spiders, spider webs, and piled up stuff. It has been a constant source of frustration aggravation. We've had situations where couldn't find things because there was no place for them. They're just be a box somewhere that had never been properly and completely. unpacked. So it was just sitting in the garage and my wife and I would have this conversation about where is such and such tool and she would say or I would say, well, I think I saw it somewhere over in this corner and it would come out of whatever box or corner it was in to be located to a new corner or box. At some point because there was no place for it the garage even though mostly out of sight was always just a little on our minds like I said, we have cats live there and we had to visit the garage periodically to get things and to take care of the cats and to feed and water them clean their litter box to find the. Tool or thing we were looking for that was stored in the garage. So we had to go out to the garage frequently it's just not a living space. It's out of sight out of mind sort of space we visit there occasionally not all the time. So we could go into our cleaner part of the Halston for awhile sort of forget about the garage. Well, the truth is the frustration built because it was never fully resolved this frustration built and built and built. Until we finally broke and said, we have got to do something about this. So we went and shot for storage solutions. We drew up plans and came up with this plan for how to fix the garage problem the process. Then of installing the storage solutions we identified was complicated by having to work around the. Mess, the cats, the dust, the spiders, the cat hair, and the scratch walls plus in the process, we had to repair the damage done by not fixing the garage properly in the beginning like I said the scratched walls and other things that were out there not major damage. They're just things that made it take a little longer and cost a little more money to fix than it would have taken if we'd done it originally. So here's the impact, the actual cost and work of installing the storage solutions was about the same as if we've done it over two years ago, meaning the actual storage solution installed probably cost about the same took about the same amount of to install the total cost and both time and money of fixing the whole problem was more because of the damage repair and work around. We had to do the more complicated environment of a garage that already had stuff that we had to work around the cats and we had to move piles from one place to another. We had to rearrange things and move stuff out of the way. Then on top of all the stuff that was in the garage, we had the packing material and boxes and other things came with our storage solution. We had to clear space on the floor to assemble the stored solution. So the whole process got significantly more complicated because it wasn't dealt with originally. Okay. So how does her garage fit? With the idea of chronic conflict. Well, let's think about what a chronic conflict is gonNA tell. You have chronic versus acute chronic is persisting for a long time acute all of a sudden and frankly you probably don't overlook acute conflicts. They appear they're writing your face. There's the blow up in the meeting or the the confrontation someone has over a project plan or whatever the situation it's very clear and direct. It's probably the chronic conflicts cause greater challenges to a leader. Because they are sort of floating under the surface and they're those little things that you kind of know it needs to be dealt with like our garage we knew it needed to be dealt with. It's just that there was always something else more important. And the pressure of the unresolved conflict built and built and built until we basically snapped and it became acute. So what are some leadership issues that might be chronic conflict? So they could. UNADDRESSED employee performance issues. They could be interactions between people in the workplace that you see are spiraling a bad direction they could be missed deadlines. Be Project completion challenges. Or quality challenges. I don't know specifically what your issue is but. The. Truth is we all have them all of us have chronic conflicts in our lives that sort of float under the surface day. SAP OUR FOCUS and energy they get in the way they slowest down and doing things like for example, when I would have to go to the garage to find a tool maybe maybe there was a particular hammer was looking for and I couldn't find it because it had no place the chronic conflict got in the way of me doing what needed to be done. Well chronic conflicts can do the same thing in the workplace they can cause us to be sensitive interactions with people to not speak openly and forthrightly to. Behave in ways that damage trust open communication. Like. I said I don't know your specific situation. I'm pretty sure if you think about it, you can think of situations that are chronic conflicts and the challenges if they continue to be chronic conflicts rather than getting addressed. When they become acute, they may be so big. They're almost impossible turn-around. What we do about chronic conflicts is that they're going to get worse before they get better. And like our garage as soon as you choose to address it, it's going to make it acute. Soon, as we decided to start tackling the garage, we head to move things we had to clean out the COBWEBS. We had to confront the dust and cat here and kitty litter that was behind boxes and all the stuff the damaged walls we had to address it. We made those things acute. We raise them from back of mind low focus issues to front of mine intensely focused issues, and like our garage the longer it goes unresolved the more mess to clean up and rearrange. All the boxing impacting materials and things we had to clean out of garage. The longer goes on the more. It's GONNA cost you to fix it because the cost of fixing the underlying issue probably won't get worse. It'll be about the same whatever the issue is it's going to cost what it costs to fix it. What we'll get worse is the added cost of fixing the damage caused by ignoring it by fixing all the stuff that piles up in the meantime. Here's the thing I want to leave with today I. Don't know where you have chronic conflict in your life I'm pretty confident that you stop and think about it. You're gonNA find it and what I'm going to suggest as you think about one chronic conflict that is going on in your leadership role. And unlike say in the next twenty, four hours if you can start addressing if it's more complex and require some thinking and planning to at least make a plan for how you're going to address it. And then take action engage with that person have a conversation or people as the case may be might be more than one person. And like our garage, you need to be prepared for it to get worse before it gets better. Getting worse does not mean that it's getting worse in the sense of not being fixable. It's just as you raise all these buried emotions to the surface, it's probably going to get worse before it gets better. The key is to maintain hope that if will persevere in the process and we resolve this issue, it will get better even though it gets worse than the short-term. Be Prepared to confront the damage you did know about you're going to uncover things you have no idea about as you address conic conflicts with people or with your team. Be Prepared for that and be okay with it. As you address it make sure you allow enough time for both you and the other person or people involved to get their concerns and hurts from the past on the table. Make enough space for talking about the past. You can least understand how people feel about things don't let it go too long though what you WanNa do is as quickly as you can without communicating that you didn't hear people. Shift to the future and talk about what you can both do to make the situation better in the future. So if you can't address chronic conflicts be prepared for them to get worse before they get better. Be Prepared to fix whatever emotional damage you uncovering the process be prepared to talk about how you can go forward together. And what you can do together to work better together in the future rather than end the relationship. You can talk like leader. This has been the talk leader podcast. You can listen to this show every week wherever you get your podcast. You. Haven't Fisher sure to subscribes. You never miss an episode. I'm Guy Harrison. Thanks for listening.