How do you manage conflict?

July 2, 2021by Shirley Palmer0

Every business must deal with conflict but what we sometimes forget is that a little conflict in business is healthy. Businesses want to be successful and to do so you need to ensure that you have employed intelligent, confident, and bright individuals. However, with a full team with these attributes it is inevitable that conflict may arise. The ultimate key is how to best deal with it effectively.

We are all unique; there are no two people the same and we will always show our differences on:

  • Information and knowledge
  • Assumptions
  • Beliefs and values
  • Cultures
  • Expectations
  • Wants and needs

But what causes the conflict?

In truth it is quite simply the fact that people take these differences too personally. Maybe it is also time to look in the mirror and see what traits you see in the other person. People can focus on defending themselves and get emotionally attached to the situation and the outcome. Another thought might be that they have different method of communicating. This can be looked at by viewing two categories. One whether you are an entrepreneur – (they tend to be more intuitive) or an analytical thinker – (they tend to think in a more linear fashion). Neither one is right nor wrong, but it is as simple as they view it differently.

How do people deal with conflict?

Again, this depends on the individuals’ personality type but in general terms they will:

  • Change their opinion with evidence or simply avoid further confrontation
  • Completely avoid the conflict and walk away
  • Be a victim, say and do nothing but moan and grumble to others
  • Be confrontational
  • Or allow themselves to detach from the situation and look at the bigger picture

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”

Abraham Lincoln

What is the best strategy for dealing with conflict?

It is imperative that management fully accept and understand that conflict needs to be effectively managed and not just skirted over and subsequently avoided. The team must therefore be given clear guidelines on the following:

  • A clear and defined role for each team member
  • Acknowledging and understanding the different personality types and their strengths and weaknesses
  • Clear strategic and operational goals to be set
  • Rules for team conduct
  • And the need for mindful listening without judgement

Four steps to effective resolution

Conflict resolution isn’t just a handy and helpful skill – it’s essential for navigating the unpredictability that comes with living in today’s often competitive society. Here are four steps to help you find resolution quickly.

  1. It’s not about winning and losing

In the same way a lack of empathy hampers the realisation of substantial resolve, making someone feel like they’ve won would suggest the deeper issues haven’t been properly addressed.

There’s a major difference between inducing a feeling of empowerment and determining an overall victor. If someone feels like they’ve won, they probably won’t be particularly motivated to persevere with any changes discussed.

Empowerment, on the other hand, is reached via active listening, focusing on the issues at hand and displaying interest in solutions that appeal to all involved.

2. Maintain open communication

So now that you’ve reached an appropriately positive outcome, you can just move on and forget that anything ever happened, right? Well, yes and no.

You don’t want to remind someone about a former disagreement every time you see them, but equally, you should stay cautious of similar conflicts and triggers arising in the future. After agreeing upon a solution, it’s beneficial to uphold open communication going forward.

3. Empathy is key

Some practical skills are necessary for defusing and resolving conflicts. However, attempts at conflict resolution are unlikely to have lasting success if handled in a purely practical manner.

Not only will displaying an impersonal attitude or solely focusing on practical outcomes make you seem indifferent, but conflicts also tend to have a more significant cause than a basic inability or refusal to do something.

Displaying authentic empathy is key, which means caring about what you are saying, and the solutions discussed and sincerely recognising the other person’s point of view.

No one likes being told what to do or how to think. Even if you flatly disagree with someone’s ideas or actions, you won’t progress without expressing a certain level of understanding. Adopt an open behaviour and ask questions about how someone feels and what they think needs to change.

“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.”

Alfred Adler

4. Don’t abandon your self-respect

While approaching conflict resolution with empathetic understanding, be careful not to descend into polite submission. This can happen if you’re apprehensive about speaking honestly or just too eager to find the quickest route to resolve.

Making a satisfying breakthrough requires patience and maintaining your self-respect. Now, this doesn’t mean stubbornly backing yourself and refusing to consider your own responsibility. But there’s no point self-consciously nodding your way through a discussion and withholding your thoughts on the situation.


I would therefore ask that all team managers and leaders seriously consider how you currently address conflict in the business and to consider some of these thoughts noted in this blog.

Thinking about the current conflicts you are dealing with? Still in need of some added advice and guidance – then book in a Genius Zone Consult to discover what your current challenges are and explore how I can support you in solving those challenges.


Lastly, remember don’t take it personally! 

Shirley Palmer

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Copyright by Shirley Palmer. All rights reserved.

Copyright by Shirley Palmer. All rights reserved.