Conflict Management Blog by Cinnie Noble
You may know the song “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen, in which he sings the words: “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” I like this song and the idea of light shining through what might seem like something broken.
In fact, a well-known and regarded conflict practitioner and writer defines conflict as: “… simply the sound made by cracks in a system; regardless of whether the system is personal, relational, familial, organizational, social, economic or political.” (Kenneth Cloke, The Crossroads of Conflict: A Journey into the Heart of Dispute Resolution, 2006)
If we are able to consider that there is something good to see when a dispute causes us to feel dark and dim, we may be able to have a different and better relationship with conflict and ourselves within it. So, it is suggested that that cracks – and where the light gets in – are integral to developing conflict mastery and the ability to focus our energies on what is so important to the other person and to us that leads to conflict between us. The opportunity in identifying that – what’s important to both of us that would result in strong emotion – is critical to consider and explore.
This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider this by bringing to mind a situation in which you and another person provoked one another – resulting in a dispute.