Handling conflict. It’s not a pleasant thought. When things happen, and they go poorly, what we do and don’t do determines the lasting reality.
Yesterday, we had a delivery to our house go poorly. We have a sign at the top of our long driveway saying “please no large trucks.” Neglecting to see the sign, the delivery people drove down our long driveway to find a tight turn around with little space for their truck to maneuver for the delivery.
Sadly, they decided to try to take the turn and drove over our center garden – with one of the guys outside directing the driver to do so.
It didn’t go well. We were watching and my husband snapped running out the door and yelling at the young men to stop. We’d nurtured those plants through the drought, and they were finally in bloom.
One of the young men was as angry as my husband telling him to stop yelling. The other was apologizing and listening.
My husband responded promptly and apologized. The man who’d been listening thanked him, the other man glared and ignored him. They brought in one item and my husband apologized again, ensuring the driver heard him. He offered an icy stare until my husband said I’ve apologized, and you’ve offered nothing for driving over our gardens. He paused, then apologized.
We all took photos; they hadn’t seen the sign and we called into their headquarters with all parties sharing information. The manager offered to fix things and we all took accountability for our own missteps.
We get it, they’re plants. They get it, they need to pay attention. The company listened, cared and acted.
What started as an overreaction escalated to a full-blown conflict and diffused itself through communication. It doesn’t always work like this.
But it could.