Conflict, Emotional Intelligence, and the Lifelong Colleague Commitment

Conflict! A word that strikes fear in the hearts of even the most stouthearted among us. Conflict!! An ominous event that elicits an involuntary, white-knuckled, fight-flight response. Conflict!!! A saber-rattling rivalry that ends with an imperious winner and a loser both bloodied and bruised. The perception that conflict is harmful or destructive may lead to the conclusion that conflict should be avoided at all cost. However, this view of conflict is like seeing the sun as solely the source of sunburns, forgetting the fact that the sun is also the source of life itself.

As with the sun, so with conflict. Conflict is the lifeblood to betterment and does not need to be destructive, nor does it need to be contentious, combative, or confrontational. Conflict is a venue where opposing opinions surface for collective consideration. Conflict provides energy for creativity, innovation, and improvement. Conflict is a mechanism for deeper understanding of existing circumstances, a way to bring new information to light, and is a means of clarifying goals through real-time reassessment. Conflict is a way to define shared values. Conflict reduces the monotony of recurring conformity, automatic agreement, and incessant sameness.

Conflict is a precious commodity when appropriately employed, and recognizing that conflict should be embraced rather than avoided is a characteristic of Emotional Intelligence and is part of Roseman University of Health Sciences’ Lifelong Colleague Commitment. When disagreements are discussed courteously, opposing opinions are aired respectfully, and solutions are sought unitedly, conflict is a very valuable tool to bring new life to aging ideas. By seeing conflict as a vital resource, Roseman University is transforming healthcare education by building cohesive teams based on trust, communication, cooperation, and, yes … even conflict.

L. Kris Munk, DDS, MS

Roseman University Associate Dean of Graduate Education