How to Deal with Conflict at Work

Welcome back to the second edition of Leading Choices (LC). In this edition, I’ll talk about your choices when it comes to conflict at work and how conflict can be beneficial and even desirable.

1 – Leading Thought

For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate. – Margaret Hefferman Share on X

2 – You Choose

Most people cringe when they think about conflict. The response is natural. Conflict imposes a danger and the human brain is wired to escape danger. You may have heard of the expression “fight-or-flight mode.” Our response can be ad hoc, defensive, or even inflated.

We want harmonious relationships so we can collaborate and get things done, even in a competitive environment.

What do you do when conflict arises in your team?

What do you do when you are in the middle of it?

You can be the peacemaker, the problem-solver, the power-player, the diplomat, the ignorant, or pick a different role – even a hybrid version.

It is worth examining your habitual response while observing how others handle conflict. What is working well for you – and others? This may differ by organization, depending on their culture. What works in one organization may not work in another. Even teams differ.

Why does this matter?

As you rise in your career, managing conflict is a recurring topic and a leadership skillset that can make or break your career. Taking the time to gain awareness of your own style will help you to have a “meta-view” when you face conflict. A meta-view is the ability to be in a situation while at the same time viewing it objectively, as an outside-observer looking for the best response versus your habitual response, your ‘knee-jerk reaction,’ if you will.

Creating Conflict on Purpose?

There is even a time when purposefully creating conflict can be beneficial for your team. Did I make you curious? Then take a look at the course below “Managing Team Conflict” to see how to use it in brainstorming and to build a resilient team with the ability to get through conflict in a productive manner!

3 – Way to Grow!

To grow your ability to manage conflict for yourself – or for members of your team – take a look at these resources:

  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High (Book) – 272 pages, #1 in Leadership Training on Amazon
  • Improving Your Conflict Competence (All Levels) – 46 min. (Video)
  • Conflict Resolution Foundations (Beginners) – 51 min. (Video)
  • 10 Types of Difficult People (Audio) – 19 min.
  • TED Talk: Dare to Disagree (Video) – 12 min.
  • Managing Team Conflict (Intermediate) – 3 min. (Video)

Here’s to making great choices!



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Leading Choices covers topics like:

  • Leadership Communication
  • Leadership Skills
  • Career Development
  • Leadership Branding
  • Remote Work and Virtual Leadership
… and related leadership communication and career topics to help you grow.

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