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Is conflict a good thing?

Have you ever been in a conflict situation with a colleague at work?

If I were a betting woman… I’d say that you have been!

The truth is that we all have to deal with conflict every now and then.

Conflict is nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of as it’s a normal part of any relationship.

In fact, healthy conflict is good for a relationship.

High-performing, cohesive teams engage in healthy conflict all of the time.

Healthy conflict means that people on these teams feel very comfortable engaging in the unfiltered and constructive debate of ideas.

So, the issue for you is not avoiding conflict as a leader.

ConflictRather, it is managing and de-escalating conflict when it occurs.

We all handle conflict differently depending on our personality and work style. 

Think about your conflict style.

Do you tend to be more aggressive or more passive?

If you have a more aggressive style, here are some of your unproductive tendencies when managing conflict.

You might:

  • Argue to win or create a win-lose situation
  • Refuse to bend in a debate
  • Become insensitive or impatient 
  • Talk over others
  • Become overly emotional 

If you have a more passive style, here are some of your unproductive tendencies when managing conflict.

You might:

  • Become overly critical of yourself or others
  • Overanalyze the situation without resolving it
  • Withdraw or ignore the problem 
  • Give in to please others
  • Let your emotions simmer beneath the surface

Neither of these responses to conflict is optimal. They will escalate a conflict situation.

Instead, your goal is to choose behaviors that will de-escalate it. 

Be neither passive nor aggressive, but instead leverage behaviors that are assertive.

So here are 4 effective ways that you can assertively de-escalate conflict:

  • Be willing to acknowledge tough issues openly
  • Communicate empathy and encourage open dialogue
  • Listen to other people’s perspectives and find a win-win solution
  • Focus on the facts, not emotions or judgments 

When conflict arises, and it will, what can you do to manage it more effectively?

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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