I confess that I don’t like conflict and I find it to be both uncomfortable and disturbing. As a problem solver, when I sense conflict approaching, I will either try to avoid it or address it head on and work to resolve it as quickly as possible. I prefer an equilibrium state of peace and calm. Oneness is appealing in this way because when we think of the universe this way, it’s easy to focus on common ground and, in general, to just get along with one another.
As a real estate company leader and broker, I find my days filled with opportunities to practice the skill of conflict resolution. A real estate transaction often involves extremely charged circumstances and large financial sums. Considering that most people only buy or sell a home a few times in their life, it’s no wonder that without “the voice of reason” to assist, things can escalate to full blown conflict very quickly.
One might think that someone who does not like conflict would not be well suited for a career full of conflict. There are days that I think this myself. Yet by coupling the values of responsibility (Day 62) and harmony together, I find a high level of satisfaction through conflict resolution, a return to peace and calm!
The guiding value of harmony has served me well in negotiation. Google’s Oxford Languages defines harmony as, “the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect.” In the case of a real estate transaction, we can substitute the musical notes for buyers, sellers, Realtors, inspectors, mortgage lenders, attorneys and more. When these players all work together towards a common goal, there is most certainly a pleasing effect and everyone wins.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares my affinity for agreement and it often takes a great deal of work to bring people together. Psychologist, Connie Podesta, wrote a book titled, Life Would Be Easy If It Weren’t For Other People.* (Oh, such a great title.) She shares four types of behavior including passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. Passive types tend to yield to others, while aggressive types use a bullying approach to get what they want. Passive-aggressive types are a combination of these whereby the person acts passively, but then becomes covertly aggressive after an interaction. It is the assertive type that skillfully balances one’s own needs with the needs of the other person. This is harmony in action.
Assertiveness is acknowledging the needs of all people involved in a situation and working toward satisfying them both. Sometimes we encounter people who enjoy argument for argument’s sake and these are the occasions I typically try to avoid. But when conflict arises as part of two parties’ attempts to achieve an outcome, I find it rewarding to jump in by being assertive with the hope that harmony is the result.
*Spoiler Alert: much of the time it turns out that WE are the difficult person, not the other way around.