Analyzing Conflict

Most people hate conflict.

I heard an analysis of conflict recently by author Amy Gallo. She set forth a template which broke conflict into four categories:

1. Personal
2. Structure
3. Process
4. Status

Structure conflicts are about “what” should be done.

Process conflicts are about “how” something should be done.

Status conflicts are about who should decide something.

Personal conflicts are differences in personality.

Makes sense, this breakdown, doesn’t it?

But, we don’t think of conflict this way. We classify almost all conflict as personal.

Someone wins. Some win loses. That’s personal.

Some one is happy. Someone isn’t. That’s personal.

Feelings will be hurt. Maybe mine. That’s personal.

You can come up with dozens of personal feelings about conflict.

But, Gallo’s template moves conflicts into less personal arenas. She says that if you can move the conflict from personal into discussions about what should be done, how it should be done and who should be accountable, it becomes more objective. It’s just business.

People who depersonalize conflict to a business issue are able to distance themselves from the anguish of personality conflict. When you make the problem the task, you don’t run from conflict, you move toward it.

If you aren’t fearful of contact, you solve more issues, timely. You have an urgency for progress that was once delayed because you didn’t want to deal with drama.

The problem doesn’t go away if we ignore it. If we take a business approach to conflict rather than a personal one, we take a step ahead.