January 5, 2017

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30 Top Truths about Conflict in the Workplace

  1. You can’t avoid conflict in the workplace because people’s work goals and personal styles differ.
  2. Conflict rarely resolves itself; it normally escalates if you don’t deal with it properly.
  3. Unresolved conflict can drive productivity down. It stifles creativity and prevents people from cooperating and collaborating.
  4. If you avoid conflict, you may start feeling resentful. Resentment creates withdrawal. Infighting replaces teamwork.
  5. Conflict is not always a bad thing: it can spur innovation, diversity of thought and better decision making.
  6. In the most effective teams, members feel safe enough to disagree with one another.
  7. Empower yourself by learning how to deal with workplace conflict.
  8. Be confident and don’t avoid confrontation.
  9. Set up a meeting to talk to the other person at a time and place that suit you both.
  10. Listen to understand, not just to formulate a counterargument.
  11. Don’t interrupt.
  12. Stay calm and don’t get angry.
  13. Find some common ground with the other person. Show you understand what they are saying by repeating their points. Ask for clarification if you misunderstood anything.
  14. State your case tactfully without making personal criticisms.
  15. Identify points of agreement and disagreement.
  16. Attack the problem, not the person.
  17. Avoid the blame game.workplace-conflict management - WCA BLOG
  18. Focus on behaviour and events, not personalities.
  19. Focus on the future (solution), not the past (what went wrong).
  20. Ask questions that will not antagonise people.
  21. Ask questions that will provide the necessary information.
  22. Pick your battles and decide how important an issue is.
  23. Identify the most important issues.
  24. Develop a plan to work on each conflict, starting with the most important.
  25. Persist until you’ve worked through each area of conflict.
  26. Maintain a collaborative, purposeful, respectful attitude.
  27. Be creative and think outside the box.
  28. Compliment each other’s achievements and insight.
  29. Congratulate each other on progress.
  30. Celebrate the resolution of a dispute.


The more we run from conflict, the more it masters us; the more we try to avoid it, the more it controls us; the less we fear conflict, the less it confuses us; the less we deny our differences, the less they divide us.


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