The Elephant in the Room: Improving Your Emotional Intelligence to Manage Conflict
Whether we’re at work or sitting around the Thanksgiving Dinner table, conflict is natural-especially when working with others. It is too often looked upon as negative and unhealthy. Since few of us view conflict as a healthy part of a workplace or personal relationship, we tend to view all conflict as uncomfortable—the proverbial “elephant in the room”. We also tend to avoid it at all costs. Emotional intelligence can help us learn how to engage in healthy conflict resolution. When we do approach conflict in a healthy way, we discover increased connections in relationships with people, which in turn creates more productive workplaces and healthier personal relationships.
Holly VanPelt and her husband have three healthy and busy children. She attended college at St. Cloud State University and finished a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. She has been a probation officer with the MN Department of Corrections for 11 years.
As a probation officer, she experiences a fair share of conflict; however, it was the interpersonal conflicts that used to make her uncomfortable. After struggling through a conflict at work for months she decided to try something new and outside her comfort zone. After approaching the other person to have a difficult conversation, they came out on the other side of it with room to grow and build more trust. Since that incident, she has focused her training on conflict resolution in order to improve her own skills and teach others how to deal with conflict in a more positive way.
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