This morning in our team meeting, I spoke about a common struggle we face as people interpersonally. It affects our personal and professional lives equally and can have repercussions further than we can imagine. It’s the topic of “offenses.” The topic of conflict resolution is never out-of-date because it is a timeless struggle for business leaders.
We’ve all been there…where we either offended someone or were offended. Recently in a team meeting, I made a passive aggressive comment as a joke that was received as disrespectful and hurtful. When a team member corrected me on the offense, I did exactly what many of us are tempted to do and began to try and build consensus among other employees that I wasn’t out of line. However, that plan backfired when they all agreed that I was out of line. So my plan to build an army of people who saw my viewpoint didn’t exist.
Anytime I’ve offended or been offended, a trap is set. I have two choices:
1 – to step into the trap and go deeper down a path of anger, resentment and bitterness
2 – to recognize the trap and avoid it all together, but rather proceed down a path of forgiveness and reconciliation
In the case above, I made the wrong decision and instead of accepting the advice and asking for reconciliation, I proceeded down a path of deeper frustration and gossip. This is affecting our culture and businesses across the country. In a culture of easily offended people, we often find ourselves on one of the two sides of the same “offense” coin.
At CentreSource, we envision a culture of openness, transparency and honesty. On one hand, we strive to give each other the benefit of the doubt and avoid being “over-sensitive.” However, on the other hand, we seek to quickly resolve offenses when they’ve happened. Because when you step into a trap what begins to happen is that all the characteristics of the offense begin to show up in other relationships. We almost begin looking for the signs of the offense in situations where there isn’t an offense at all.
By this, we limit ourselves from progress and because of an offense we are still carrying around, we miss opportunities for personal and professional growth. So I’ve been working diligently to quickly resolve my conflicts with others and to let those from the past off the hook. Because in many cases, I’ve found it amazing that my resentment and bitterness isn’t even hurting the person who offended me…it’s only hurting me. They aren’t even probably aware of the offense. That, by definition, is a trap.