So I will admit it, I don’t like conflict. I don’t enjoy being challenged or having my ideas questioned or countered. Nevertheless, I have to say that some of my most significant life changes and some of the most meaningful adjustments to my ideas and decisions have been fostered by uncomfortable challenges from others.
There is something that happens in the crucible of trial that just can’t happen in any other circumstance of life. Young saplings are bent by the storm only to be strengthened within as they heal in the aftermath. Sand is crushed and forgotten until it emerges as a beautiful pearl. Gold is refined by fire to become a shining object of desire and worth. Ideas and decisions are torn apart and tread upon by scrutiny and criticism to emerge better and clearer. People are molded and shaped under the weight of diversity and those who resist the urge to flee find themselves stronger, more resilient, better thinkers and decision makers, and more impactful in their relationships with others.
As a leader I remind myself often that the friction I experience in my day to day interactions is good for me, it makes me better, and in the end it can even make me shine. If I am not willing to let others shape me, then I will never become the leader and person that I can become. We are shaped through relationships, good and bad, not through isolation and comfort. This is a leadership lesson of greater worth than many of the more popular clichés passed about, and it is one well worth learning.