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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

Conflict Management: Addressing the Inevitable

The outcome of any conflict should be a resolution leaning toward satisfaction and effectiveness, rather than distress or hostility. The ability of human beings to achieve this has been addressed by the likes of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Management of the conflict may include collaborating, compromising, accommodating, avoiding, competing, etc. Yes, differences cause conflict, but they also diffuse conflict. Career development professionals can address the lack of peace in the workplace with a combination of empathy, assessment, cultural competency, stress management…in other words, all the skills in the helping profession. ~ Melanie Reinersman,

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann from Unsplash

FOCUS ON: Unresolved Conflicts in the Workplace

Decreased employee health and organizational performance are two of the negative effects of conflict at work. Conflict management styles vary, and managers may need to implement resolutions to improve climate and communication. A brief workplace conflict resolution workshop can improve employee conflict resolution knowledge and identification of preferred resolution styles, while reducing the chances of the conflict escalating. Read more from the Health Educator.

GENDER IN THE WORKPLACE: Conflict Resolution Styles

Role theory was not supported when examining conflict resolution behaviors of men and women at work and at home in a 1989 study. Research using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode instrument showed both genders are more competitive at work than at home. At home, both genders used the accommodating style more often. A 2017 systematic review of research suggested that in the workplace, gender differences diminished as both men and women were more dominating as managers and more accommodating as subordinates. The power, role and setting effects the conflict resolution style.

FOR PRACTITIONERS: Gaining Clarity on Inner Conflict

While inner conflict, such as a desire to quit a lucrative job, is unavoidable, a lack of a full understanding of the conflict can cause behavioral issues that affect life. By focusing on the first step, defining the conflict and its triggers, the individual can then weigh the pros and cons of a decision with others, and set goals. Read more from LinkedIn.


The challenges of today’s work environments require an in-depth look at trends, tools and tips to successfully assist clients. In a podcast episode, Drs. Gail Fann Thomas, Ken Thomas, and Ralph Kilmann discuss hybrid work, dealing with teams in conflict, and teaching conflict management skills. Listen now to the Myers-Briggs Company podcast.

TOP TEN: Causes of Conflict in the Workplace

Because the first step toward resolution is identifying the causes of the conflict, this list of the top ten common causes is a good place to start. Differences in personality is not a surprising cause, but limited resources and bad work habits (such as gossiping) could also be the triggers. Leaders who analyze these may increase the goal of amicable and professional resolution. Read all ten from Change Management Insight.


“A good manager doesn't try to eliminate conflict; he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people." ~ Robert Townsend
"When people respond too quickly, they often respond to the wrong issue. Listening helps us focus on the heart of the conflict. When we listen, understand, and respect each other's ideas, we can then find a solution in which both of us are winners." ~ Dr. Gary Chapman
“Address the issue early, before it turns into a bigger problem, but be sure to wait until things have cooled down. It's difficult to have a productive discussion if you and your colleague are angry or upset. Wait until you are both clear-headed.” ~ David W. Ballard


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