Resilience in conflict

5 min read
fix me

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For a long time, I thought I was avoiding conflicts at work by steering away from tough situations. However, I later realized that avoiding conflicts doesn't always lead to positive outcomes, and sometimes facing disagreements is necessary for personal growth.

Before diving in, let's clarify what I mean by conflict. I'm not talking about big fights or arguments; I'm referring to disagreements among different parties.

That said, conflict is not necessarily a negative thing to happen.

This came as a realization when I noticed that during job interviews, most of the time I was asked to explain a conflict situation at work, my default answer, was that I never let things evolve into a conflict preventing them from happening.

Underneath my default answer, I was preventing the conflict or the friction from happening by giving in or letting myself be convinced. In other words, letting things cool down, instead of taking action.

With the help of therapists and colleagues, I spotted a blind spot that I needed and wanted to improve. I shouldn't hold myself to share ideas if I have enough reasons to speak up (this all considering it's the right time). Otherwise, the conflict will exist and prevail.

As a non-native English speaker, the very first example that comes to mind is the number of times I was in meetings and had different opinions about a project. Instead of speaking up, I stayed quiet to avoid conflict or misunderstandings. Regardless of the reasons, the conflict was still there, potentially leading to missed opportunities for improvement.

Underneath the rug

In reality, the conflict was still there, but I was choosing to be ignored and to give in. Due to my insecurities, I didn't believe my opinion mattered and I didn't want to become a roadblock or create friction.

One downside of this approach is that I was losing the right to expect positive changes. How can I expect improvement if I never voice my concerns?

What I have learned now is that conflict in the sense of disagreements needs to happen. Not constantly, but in a way that we can get to a common consensus - best case scenario - that everyone is on board with.

Adaptability, which may sound great in most contexts, could have an unpleasant participation in this equation. If we keep on adapting to the environment and the context, will encourage us to have the “yes” as a default answer, so as not to clash with the rest of the people.

Hiring first impressions

Shaping this culture of promoting people to feel welcome, shouldn't be a matter of personalities only, and should be taken into account from the first round of interviews.

That's why the hiring strategy plays a crucial role here. Getting the best-fitting people around to then trying to convince them to go against their values and beliefs, makes no sense, and will encapsulate the conflict for a later explosion.

Just to name one example, depending on how the information flows, and how involved we would like developers to be with the product, it may be good to consider which type of profile are we looking for, purely technical, product-driven, or maybe a mix. If we don't consider this aspect, we will probably end up not meeting our expectations.

Emotions matter

As I have shared in my full article about this topic, being approachable is for sure one of the game-changers I have developed over the years. Not only helped me to create better bonds with people, but also to create an environment where people felt secure, open, and willing to share thoughts openly.

Learning how to handle emotions, how to stay neutral and calm, and being a good listener is not something I overlook, and I would also like to make them part of the same combo. If we are willing to develop resilience in conflicts we need to understand how to be a good listener and have empathy to brainstorm different ideas.

In a similar situation, we know how much, emotions and opinions we share, might affect others. And it's not something we can easily anticipate, thus this also contributes to keeping ourselves shut to prevent hurting others. This is not necessarily true, in most cases, I am pretty sure they will appreciate our honesty, but of course, that takes time and development.

Our voice matter

Not all managers know when to encourage people to share their thoughts. Executing ideas you don't believe in takes away motivation. Your management style matters—encourage healthy challenges, not endless discussions that lead to finger-pointing.

From the beginning, we are hired as experts to share opinions, ideas, and concerns. As Steve Jobs once said, you're paying someone to do whatever you think is right. What's harder is to get people to tell you and convince you what you need to do. And that's why building this resilience to conflict is important.

Decisions need to be made in a way where the challenge is healthy and open-minded.

Communication is key

When addressing conflicts, effective communication is vital. This a quote I took from The Stoics Mind, that highlights what I mean:

When you communicate the results of your critical thinking, it is important to do so in a way that is persuasive rather than confrontational.

In a nutshell, if we doubt sharing an idea, or a potential question that could cause friction, think twice in regards to what would be the better way in terms of communication, that first impression will be the one deciding the reactivity.


Learn how to deal with conflict, be resilient, take something out of every conflict, and come out stronger! don't hide it, don't let it go. Approach it and look for reasonable and different opportunities. Even if it has to be on an informal side chat with a peer.

Voice your concerns, let yourself be emotional, and learn how to handle them. Letting things fade away, will not only contribute to filling the glass of patience and value you have, but it won't help to work on your self-awareness and self-confidence. Build confidence, not arrogance!

Learn different communication tools that can provide a better sense of being persuasive rather than confrontational causing friction every time we share an idea.

Thanks for reading ❤️

Written by Manu

I am a product-driven JavaScript developer, passionate about sharing experiences in the IT world, from a human-centric perspective.

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