Northeastern British Columbia



Why Deal With Workplace Conflict?

Tips for Managing Workplace Conflict

Direct Discussion — How to Approach a Co-worker

Why We Avoid Dealing With Conflict

Are All Conflicts the Result of Personality Clashes or Poor Behaviour

Conflict Styles

Communicating in Conflict

Managing Anger — Yours and Others

Handling Criticism

Being Hard on the Problem — Not the Person

The Role of Assumptions, Perceptions and Expectations in Conflict

Let's Talk (pdf)

Why We Avoid Dealing with Conflict


People often have many fears around engaging in direct dialogue with others about conflict. We all have our own history of experience with conflict that was first formed in our family and expanded at school and in the workplace. For some of us conflict may:

The following fears or responses to conflict are common:

Negotiating openly with others around what we want and need is not modeled or encouraged in our society.

"It takes courage to honestly and clearly articulate your needs, and it takes courage to sit down and listen to your adversaries."

"It takes courage to look at your own role in the dispute, and it takes courage to approach others with a sense of empathy, openness and respect for their perspective."

Source:  University of Wisconsin-Madison

It is not surprising that direct discussion with the other party is often not considered until other options have proved unsuccessful or the conflict becomes intolerable.   So while the avoidance of direct discussion is understandable, the effective management of conflict in the workplace requires us to overcome our discomfort and learn to discuss differences directly.

©Vancouver Island University