Exempt People Leader: Senior Operational


Handling conflict situations effectively, with a minimum of noise

Conflict is a natural part of organizational life. Organizations are made up of diverse people with differing opinions and competing interests, making conflict inevitable. But conflict isn’t always a bad thing. Managed well, conflict provides a forum for finding better alternatives and even breakthroughs in building relationships and solving problems. But only when the people involved treat each other constructively and respectfully. When you manage conflict effectively, you can begin to see conflicts less as headaches and more as opportunities.

You show this competency when you:

  • Step up to conflicts, seeing them as opportunities
  • Work out tough agreements and settles disputes equitably
  • Facilitate breakthroughs by integrating diverse views and finding common ground or acceptable alternatives
  • Settle differences in productive ways with minimum noise

How to develop this competency:

Watch for triggers

Most of us have certain things that trigger a reaction. What pushes your buttons? Think about the last several times you handled conflict poorly. What was common in the situations? Are their themes? Once you have isolated the cause, mentally rehearse a better way of handling it when it comes up next time.

Seek cooperative relationships

The opposite of conflict is cooperation. Developing cooperative relationships involves demonstrating real and perceived equity. Focus on ensuring the other side feels understood and respected. Take a solution-oriented viewpoint and approach. Avoid starting with an entrenched position; show respect for the other person and their position. Find wins on both sides. Look for opportunities to collaborate.

Stay neutral

People can sense your judgment, disdain, and lack of interest. If you can’t stay neutral, constructive, and solution oriented you can’t expect others to either. Rather than judging, focus on observing what’s going on with other people. Stay in tune with what others are experiencing and how they are reacting. Watch the reactions of people to what you are doing and saying. Be ready to adjust.

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