"Conflict can be constructive": Lessons for Living series, by Dr Neil Thompson
Life is never without its challenge, but there is always the opportunity to learn and grow from those demands made on us. Dr Neil Thompson offers advice to tackle these problems and help social workers and care professionals to realise their potential.
Conflict can range from mild disagreement to violent confrontation, and, especially in its stronger forms, can be extremely destructive.
However, it would be a significant mistake not to recognize that, in the right circumstances and if handled skilfully and confidently, conflict can actually be constructive.
This is because carefully controlled conflict can spur innovation, free people up from tramline thinking, generate considerable learning, provide opportunities for people who have previously been at loggerheads with one another to respect one another, allow us to see situations from new perspectives, and so on.
Conflict can be understood to be like fire. If it is controlled and handled carefully, it can be very productive and helpful, but if allowed to go unchecked, can be enormously destructive, raging out of control and drawing in a wide range of people who get harmed in the process.
Developing the skills of handling conflict effectively is therefore a very important basis for best practice in tackling problems.
Dr Neil Thompson is an independent writer, educator and adviser.
His website is www.NeilThompson.info.
Connect with him online via @drneilthompson.
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