7 Lessons on Conflict Management

Every team that works together, will face with conflict at one time or another. How does your team usually resolve its conflicts? Avoidance or Aggression? Either way, it is not ideal. The paradox of conflicts is that despite it being one of the most common and ubiquitous happenings in teams and organizations, a majority of people struggle to deal with conflicts. Here, we share some (short and) wise words from well known mediators and thinkers on the best ways to deal with conflicts. 

  1. Jeff Muir – Resolution of Conflict

One of the shortest lessons on conflict management, complete with illustrations. Go from definition of conflict to how to resolve conflict all in less than 3 minutes!

2. Sunshine Hung – Conflict Styles

“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.” Says William James, American philosopher, psychologist and physician. Learn about the 5 different conflict styles, and the characteristics of each style. Most interestingly, each conflict style is related with an animal! Are you a shark, an owl, a fox, a teddy bear or a turtle? Conflicts will never be the same again with these associations – imagine you were adopting a “turtle” conflict style during a conflict, the thought of that imagery popping into your head might lead you to immediately switch styles! 

3. Margaret Heffernan – Dare to Disagree

Despite the most common approach to conflict being avoidance, Heffernan shows us that openness alone cannot drive change. Instead, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates how the best research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree. Yet, a whopping 85% of American executives faced issues at work that they did not dare to raise! Are we spending a lot of time and resources scouting top talents, but not creating an environment that can draw the most out of them? An awakening talk that provokes re-thinking how managers should lead their teams , and how we all should teach our next generations. Openness is not the end, it is the beginning. 


4. William Ury – The Walk from “Yes” to “No”

Mediator and Author of “Getting to Yes”, William Ury starts off with a humorous way to look at all conflicts – a difficult arithmetic problem. He offers an elegant and simple way to create agreement in even the most difficult situations — from family conflict to, perhaps, the Middle East. “When angry, you will make the best speech – which you will regret!”. Thus, his recommendation to “go to the balcony” – illustrated with examples such as Abraham and Nelson Mandela. 


5. Katy Hutchison – Restorative Practices to Resolve Conflict/Build Relationships

Katy Hutchison became a Restorative Justice advocate following the murder of her first husband. After ten years of sharing her story internationally to over five hundred schools and community groups, she views the education system as the structure with the most potential to affect positive social change. Sharing her own parents’ style of education, she describes what she views as her ideal way of educating the young – “Time In”s. 

6. David Venter – Nelson Mandela, Negotiation and Conflict Management

Professor Ventor has a wealth of local and international experience as both a facilitator of negotiation interventions, and a trainer and advisor of negotiators. He advised governmental departments such as the police and the department of Justice, as well as the government of Nelson Mandela. Another talk that uses Nelson Mandela’s style to teach negotiation and conflict management. Mandela’s ability to bring love and peace to a mass of anger and hate, is something that we must emulate. 

7. Jim Ferrell – Resolving the Heart of Conflict

Jim Ferrell, author of The Anatomy of Peace, claims that we like problems. With a great sense of humor, Jim covers how perception (our perception of others, and others’ perception of us) can drastically change how a conflict unravels and resolves. 

Published by wendysoon

Mother of 3 lovely boys Doctorate in biology and genomics Serial Entrepreneur

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