Successful leaders manage conflict; they don’t shy away from it or suppress it . . .
Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky
Addressing conflict in the workplace is a must. Statistics compiled by Pollack Peacebuilding (a provider of workplace conflict management services) indicate that:

  • U.S. employees are engaged in conflict roughly 2.8 hours each week and equated this to $359 billion in loss productivity.

  • In the U.K. it was reported that 38% of employees experience interpersonal conflict in an average work year

Sadly, it was reported that only 40% of employees obtained any training to learn how to address conflict, and for those that did, 95% claim to have benefitted from it and were able to apply what they learned

The top 5 sources of conflict were reported as:

  1. Clashes between personalities or egos
  2. Workplace stress
  3. Too much work without enough support
  4. Poor leadership
  5. Dishonesty or not enough openness
  6. Problems with line managers

Some issues may be resolved between the parties having differences, and other times you as a leader may need to intervene. When that’s required, obtain details, evaluate if the issue is ongoing, and remain neutral. 

Focus on listening, assess what the root cause is, and look for common ground. Once you have obtained information from both parties, bring the two together and discuss how they view the conflict, seek solutions for better collaboration, and agree on next steps.  Based on the magnitude of the conflict, we also suggest having a couple (maybe more) follow-up sessions to ensure progress is being made.

Why address conflict? To improve productivity, build relationships, and increase creativity!  


Mike and Jan

Dialogue is the most effective way of resolving conflict
— Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama