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"Oh No You Didn't" - 7 Tips on Conflict Resolution

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 5/5/15 1:53 PM

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The conflict we would like to have sometimes

 Does this look familar after a five minute meeting? 

We encounter conflict everyday whether it's in the board room or at the airport. Conflict is hard when trust has been established.  Without itconflict can take on a whole new meaning and challange.  Just ask the cat!      


7 Tips to Avoid Unhealty Conflict

Be aware of your reaction when conflict occurs.

Conflict is not always a bad thing, so approach it as an opportunity and make sure your body language and word language reflect that.  While it is not always easy to do because we are biologically primed to fight or flee, sometimes not reacting is incredibly effective.

Disassociate if necessary.

When in a conflict with a highly aggressive persontry to do a disassociation activity, such as concentrating on writing your thoughts down on the piece of paper, so as to prevent a "fight or flight" response. 

Know your “go to” conflict style.  

Challenge yourself to ask if it’s most appropriate for the situation at hand or simply the most comfortable for you.  Try to measure just the right amount of assertiveness and cooperativeness to achieve the result you need.

Allow for reflection time from the quieter people that you interact with.

If you are discussing an issue you feel could be contentious with a quieter person and they are simply agreeing with you, this could lead to potential passive-aggressive behavior later on. Give some space and time. 

Don't avoid the conflict, hoping it will go away.

Trust me! It won't. Even if the conflict appears to have been superficially put to rest, it will rear its ugly head whenever stress increases or a new disagreement occurs. An unresolved conflict or interpersonal disagreement festers just under the surface in your work environment.  It burbles to the surface whenever enabled, and always at the worst possible moment. 

Try not to triangulate

Triangulation is when you don't speak directly to the person with whom you are having a conflict and involve somebody else.  For example, speaking to a colleague about your agitation with your boss sets up an unhealthy triangle. While it is very tempting to vent to others or to use them as allies, none of this is useful. Triangulation is counterproductive as it causes additional relational strain with others and takes the focus away from the primary issue at hand. 

Understand that conflict is neither bad, wrong nor a sign of failure

Sometimes we want people to magically know what we need in order to feel better. This is normal, yet irrational. Speed things along by being direct and specific for what you need (i.e. "I need for you to give me the weekend to think and then I can speak to you about the issue more calmly.) 

 In short nobody is perfect and learning effective conflict resolution is a life-long process. Working on conflict resolution is an indication of mature leadership.  We are all works in progress. So put down the Lightsaber Yoda and commit to these conflict resolution strategies in order to improve your relationships and your leadership.





Topics: All About Teams, Leadership Matters

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