Dealing With Conflict

Conflict is bound to occur in the workplace. We need to understand the causes and how we should deal with it.

The following table shows common sources of conflict.

The GOALS that each of us is pursuing Our VALUES or BELIEFS are different
The TASKS we have been given are inter- dependent Lack of understanding of the BENEFITS of working together
We are operating under poorly defined RULES We are having difficultly  COMMUNICATING
There is a HISTORY of problems in our relationship Our leaders are MOTIVATING us without coordination
Our OPINIONS or VIEWS are different The way we are BEHAVING
One of us has violated our established TRUST We don’t understand or value our ROLE
The BOUNDARIES of our authority We don’t have the SKILLS we need
The STRUCTURE of the organization and our affiliation One of us violated previously established EXPECTATIONS
We both need the same RESOURCES We have been MIS-INFORMED

There are five strategies that can be used to deal with conflict.

Avoiding          keep away from or stop oneself from doing
Compromising an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions
Forcing coercion or compulsion, especially with the use of threat or violence
Yielding Going away under pressure
Problem Solving (See below)

If the parties involved in the conflict can identify the source of conflict, they can resolve it and arrive at a win-win solution. Clearly, this is a favored strategy. A good five-step problem-solving method would enable the resolution.


Define the Problem


Analyze the Causes


Identify Solutions


Develop an Implementation Plan


Implement and Assess the Effects

Stephen P. (Steve) Czerniak

About the author: Mr. Czerniak retired after a successful career that culminated in fifteen years of experience as an internal consultant and “change agent.” He is currently an Executive-in-Residence at the Macomb-Oakland University Incubator and a volunteer with the Troy Historic Village and Historical Society.

One thought on “Dealing With Conflict

  1. Jim Ruma says:

    Good practical advice that needs to be known and followed. Thanks for the input that may result in better output when followed.

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