Conflict seems to be a fact of life. People with different goals and needs come into conflict with others to achieve those goals and needs. Often intense personal animosity can result.
However as long as conflict is resolved effectively, it can lead to personal and professional growth. In many cases, effective conflict resolution can make the difference between positive and negative outcomes.
By resolving conflict successfully both problems and benefits can be identified which may not be expected, for example:
Increased understanding: The discussion needed to resolve conflict expands people's awareness of the situation, giving them an insight into how they can achieve their own goals without undermining those of other people
Increased group cohesion: When conflict is resolved effectively, team members can develop stronger mutual respect.
Improved self-knowledge: Conflict pushes individuals to examine their own goals and helps them understand what things are most important to them, this may sharpen their focus and improve their effectiveness.
However, if conflict is not handled effectively, the results can be damaging. Conflicting goals can quickly turn into personal dislike. People then disengage from each other and a vicious downward spiral of negativity and recrimination commences.
Group or couple counselling and psychotherapy can facilitate positive conflict resolution. However, individual work can be as valuable since provided that one of those in conflict is able to move towards a resolution whilst still maintaining their personal boundaries then they will often be able to reach a resolution that is acceptable to all parties.