Recently, a group that I frequently work with decided to do some community outreach work. In the process, they put together a project to help families struggling with food costs.
As the project developed, one person started making implementation plans. Another person asked some questions that had not yet been answered. The questions didn't get back to the original person quickly enough. And, the project almost ended in an open conflict within an organization built on the premise of helping and serving others.
Fortunately, the potential conflict quickly dissipated when the two key people involved got the opportunity to speak and clarify a few questions.
Both people had good intentions. Both people asked valid questions. Both people wanted to help. Neither person wanted a conflict.
In the midst of this event, the title of this post became clear for me. Confusion breeds conflict.
In many situations I have observed, what initially appeared to be a major conflict was actually just a miscommunication.
The next time you see a brewing conflict, start by working on communication issues. Look for areas of communication breakdown. In many cases, you will likely find that the conflict isn't really a conflict. It's just a misunderstanding.
Photo by e-magic.