Dealing with Conflict

Conflict is inevitable but not all conflict is bad. Think of conflict like a rubber band, a little tension is good but too much will break it. Tension is necessary for success in business but needs to be managed in a healthy way.

Conflict often arises because people:

  • Communicate with one another differently.
  • Lack self-awareness.
  • Do not manage expectations well.
  • Do not have a clear picture of their responsibilities.
  • Lack trust.

Here are a few strategies to use in dealing with conflict…


The first step in dealing with risk is avoidance – planning for every possible situation that could go wrong and working to prevent it.

We recommend the same thing with conflict. Communicate effectively, establish an effective feedback loop, and build trust and cohesion with your teams. Conflict will be so much easier to manage.

Attack the issue, not the person.

Conflict is NOT about who is right and wrong in a situation. It is about resolving the matter in a diligent, effective way with outcomes that result in growth for individuals and the company.

When dealing with conflict, we must focus on the issue and not the person. We must communicate to the person or people that we are working to resolve the conflict and ask them to do the same. Think of the saying “Check yourself at the door.”

This is especially hard when we are dealing with conflict with someone who annoys us. We must stay focused on the issue.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People states for Habit 5, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” It is important to focus on factual information and ask questions to get the full picture of the conflict. Doing so clears a clean path to the issue and outcome and also avoids overlooking any pertinent details.

Conflict can be good!

Conflict can be a good thing when it is dealt with by going to the source, getting clarity, ensuring a culture of trust, and attacking the issue, not the person. In this healthy culture of trust, everybody gets to hold everybody accountable.

You are everywhere you go. Because of that, everything that we carry and have going on goes with us…at home, at work, and everywhere else. We must consider that we and others carry everything we have going on everywhere we go. We need to be aware to set aside our agenda/cares/worries when dealing with conflict.

If you need consultation to deal with conflict, contact us – we can help!

-Melissa Spangler

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