1. Differences are inevitable, normal and potentially beneficial: They are inevitable, because relationships bring together very different people. They are normal, because all relationships, including great ones, experience them. They are potentially beneficial, because handled effectively, relationships grow through them.
2. Here are three conflicting handling styles:
The avoid style: These are the “do not want to rock the boat and “let sleeping dogs lie” people. They fear confrontation, so they bury their feelings, not realizing they are buried alive and will rise again down the road. They go from claim-up, to build-up, to blow-up, inviting physical and emotional illness. Meanwhile offences accumulate, unaddressed issues multiply and unfinished business erodes the relationship.
The attack style: These are the “get them before they get you” people; ruthless fighters who refuse to give in, they inflict terminal wounds on each other. Attack begets counterattack, both sides “dig in” and nothing gets resolved.
The approach-sensitive style: These are the “no price is too high for a good relationship” people. They are sensitive to the feelings of others, yet insist on dealing directly with important issues. They avoid blaming, confront the issue, not the individual, and invite others to partner with them in solving the problem and saving the relationship.
There are two ways to tell the truth: the “give them a piece of your mind” style, which only drives the wedge deeper, or “speaking the truth in love” which resolves conflict and strengthens relationships. As Entrepreneurs, we should learn how to fight so everybody wins!