Conflict: 5 Responses to Any Issue

Conflict: 5 Responses to Any Issue

Where people interact, conflict occurs.

“Researchers found that on average, parents have 2,184 arguments with their kids every year. Each day, in fact, they spend about 49 minutes fighting.” Yahoo

  1. Average employees spend 2.1 hours a week dealing with disagreements.
  2. 27% of employees have seen tensions escalate to personal attacks.
  3. 54% of employees think managers could handle disputes better. (Workplace conflict)

Conflict: Hotheads have closed hearts. Image of an angry cat.Conflict: Hotheads have closed hearts. Image of an angry cat.

Too little conflict:

Organizations that fight all the time are distracted and paralyzed. Organizations that have no disagreements are avoiding issues.

When everyone gets along someone is faking.

Fear of disagreements doesn’t solve issues. It prolongs them.

People who skirt tough issues choose the easy path instead of the right path.

Conflict is a wake-up call that the status quo isn't working. Image of two puppies playing tug of war.Conflict is a wake-up call that the status quo isn't working. Image of two puppies playing tug of war.

5 responses to any issue:

#1. Open your mouth to make things better.

  1. When you’re unsure if words are helpful, stop talking.
  2. Always seek the best interest of others.
  3. Temper aggression with kindness.
  4. Avoid defensiveness. People who need to be right need others to be wrong.
  5. Apologize quickly.
  6. Define issues and design solutions.
  7. Show respect to yourself and others.

#2. Choose positive outcomes.

Don’t start arguing until you define a win that suits all participants.

Know what you’re fighting for.


  1. What do we want?
  2. If this conversation goes well, what will be true?
  3. If we resolve this tension, what will be different?

#3. A little progress is better than none.

Reject the need for perfect solutions.


  1. What does better look like?
  2. What’s a small thing that will make a big difference?

#4. Ask questions before making statements.

Hot heads have closed hearts.

Curiosity heads for the door when emotions get hot.

Better to ask a stupid question than make a stupid statement.

#5. Be specific:

Generalities don’t solve specificities.

Ambiguous solutions cause more conflict.

Working harder isn’t a solution to missing a specific target.

Which of the above responses would most help you?

What would you add to the above list?

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