Dealing With Conflict Like It’s a Boiled Egg

Posted By on November 15th


Too many people think of conflict as a bad word. You should be thinking about it as an opportunity to take advantage of the energy that conflict can create.

You should be dealing with conflict like it’s a boiled egg, which I’ll explain more.

The reality is that we all have conflict in our lives. Whenever you are working with other people, there’s going to be a diversity of beliefs, opinions, and values. When those things are in contradiction with each other, the question is what do you do with that energy? Do you just move rapidly into escalating the conflict or do you find ways to work together and find some common ground that can be acceptable to all of you?

The analogy that I often use has to do with a pot of water. If the pot of water is just sitting there without anything happening, there’s no energy; there’s nothing going on. It’s just a pot with water in it.

Think of the pot as your community. It can be your workplace community or any other community you are a part of. Think of the water in the pot as the people in the community.

If you add fire to that pot, you now are creating some energy because you’re heating up the water. The molecules in the water start moving around and start bumping into each other. That’s how we interact with each other. As you increase the heat, the molecules move faster and faster, bumping into each other more and more. The water begins to boil harder.

When you have boiling water, you actually can do some things with that. You no longer just have a pot with water sitting in it. You have energy. You can boil pasta; you can steam vegetables; you can use the steam to take creases out of your shirt; and you can boil an egg. The point is that you can use energy for something positive.

If you have too much energy, however, you then run the risk of the water boiling over out of the pot. You can burn yourself in addition to making a mess. Now your energy has become negative, and potentially dangerous, because there’s too much energy.

The goal is to try to keep your workplace conflict at the same level as the pot of boiling water that has positive energy. The energy you can use for boiling an egg or pasta or whatever. You don’t want conflict turned up so high that it’s spilling out all over the place and burning people because that is negative energy. That negative energy will destroy your workplace.

About the author

Keith Grossman helps individuals and businesses negotiate and manage conflict more comfortably. Keith is a Collaborative Attorney, a Family and Circuit Civil mediator certified by the Supreme Court of Florida, an Arbitrator qualified by the Florida Supreme Court, and an educator. Keith frequently lectures and facilitates training programs, works with individuals one-on-one, and writes articles on conflict management and negotiation topics. His e-workbooks, “What Is A Peace Chest?” and “How Do You Build A Peace Chest?“ are now available on Kindle.


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