It’s a Matter of Perspective

Conflict is a matter of perspective. It’s neither good nor bad, unless our reactions make it so! Consider these two photos below. The first represents what could be a perfect day under water. The second photo is the same scene – just shot from a different perspective.  It certainly doesn’t represent a perfect day – unless you’re the shark!


What can we learn from these photos? In order to truly understand the dynamics of any conflict, it’s important to step inside as many different perspectives from our own as possible. When we can see things through a different lens, we learn what others see, feel, and experience. What we then do with this information is our choice. We can ignore the information and plow ahead at our own peril. We can absorb the information and meld it into our own. We can discard our previous notions and move ahead with this new information. Possibilities are limitless when we are willing to open up and learn from each other.

Still not convinced that seeing, hearing, and experiencing the same situation from a different perspective can change minds and influence behavior? Take a moment to view this video:   We use this example in our Managing Conflict workshop as a great example of the conflict management technique, reframe. Reframing takes an existing perspective (or viewpoint) and shakes it up a bit with one quite different from the original. If the original perspective is positive, reframing offers a negative view. If the viewpoint is negative, then reframing offers the positive. In this video, what the girls once thought was a cool thing to do turns out to be quite disgusting when faced with a totally different viewpoint of the same experience.

So, the next time you find yourself in a situation with multiple feelings represented on the same issue, take the high road, be the leader, and ask for the others to share their perspectives. Suspend judgment, resist opportunities to defend or rationalize your position, and willingly listen with a positive intent to learn. What you discover may be enlightening enough to change your mind about the situation, affect your feelings, and influence a change in your behavior. With conflict unspoken, change is not possible. With communication, status quo is challenged. Collaboration and innovation may be just around the corner.


To learn more conflict management techniques and strategies, contact us. We’re here to breakthrough blocked communication, bust up silos, stimulate creativity, and inspire innovation!  Ask for a sample of our newest assessment, Productive Conflict – it’s Everything DiSC based!

Established in 1998, Jill Hickman Companies is certified by the WBEA and State of Texas HUB program as a minority, woman-owned business. Clients span the globe and include Service Corporation International, Coastal Flow Measurement Companies, BMC Construction and Building Supply, Allied Fire Protection Systems, and other industry giants for whom leadership training is provided at corporate headquarters and field locations throughout the USA and across the world. Closer to home, Jill Hickman Companies provides executive coaching and consulting services to local business owners and leaders throughout Texas, hosting leadership advisory boards and strategic planning retreats.