Despite the differences, strong relationships support healthy
and productive conflict.

The word “conflict” often creates images of ill feelings and negative interactions, but it can also be productive and inspiring. Conflict, simply defined, is a disagreement or difference of opinions.

When can conflict be healthy? Margaret Heffernan says “For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, and debate”.

It’s healthy to share differing perspectives and opposing views as it lends itself to more creative thinking which may produce positive change and obtain desired results.

Let’s say you feel strongly about an issue and your colleagues’ views are not aligned with yours. When that happens, how do you feel and how do you proceed?

  • If you have a good relationship, you’re likely to assume positive intent in the dialog, remain calm, and make every effort to be open minded while assessing the opposing view.

  • If the relationship is lacking, you may find it difficult to be open to new ideas and even find your behaviors to be challenging and confrontational while aggressively supporting your own view.

Relationships matter! With healthy relationships, conflict is less edgy; we’re more open to assuming positive intent and will make every effort to seek a deeper understating of the opposing view while remaining respectful.

That’s not to say we’ll always agree but it does mean that we will truly listen and remain composed regardless of how passionate we are about our view.

Make an effort to build strong relationships so differences will be heard and respectfully processed.  This will open doors for more exchanges that inspire creativity and increase successes.


Mike and Jan


Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it.

That factor is attitude.
–William James

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