Dialogues about race, gender, religion, politics, organizational goals, and even family budgets can be very difficult.
Conflict competence makes them productive.
When different perspectives collide, dialogue often turns to debate and eventually to destructive conflict. Because we've all experienced this process, we tend to adopt one of two strategies for dealing with conflict - we either try to avoid it at all cost or we try to win at all cost. Neither of these is healthy nor are they optimally productive, especially in difficult dialogues like the ones mentioned above.
Give people the tools (skills, knowledge, and attitudes) for the psychologically safe sharing and processing of multiple perspectives. In other words, equip people to consistently engage in constructive conflict, which pioneer social and organizational analyst Mary Parker Follett described as "a normal process by which socially valuable differences register themselves for the enrichment of all concerned."*