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By Kathleen Frascona NCPM, MPD, CPE, – ASM Plus Associate, mediator, coach, life skills coach, anger and aggression management specialist and keynote speaker.

In this blog the highly accomplished Kathleen explains the underlying causes for both why conflict is ignored and how in a workplace context it can be successfully addressed.  In so doing she draws on her extensive US and international experience.

Why do we ignore, hide, and pretend we don’t have conflict?

Contention, discord, dissention, strife, variance, dispute, quarrel, squabble, disagreement, rivalry, struggle, competition, disunion/disunity, misunderstanding, friction, clash – No matter how you say it, it is a just another word for CONFLICT.

Throughout our lives, we have conflict.  Whether it is personal or professional, internal, or external, we have conflict.

We have been told, taught, and trained to “hide” conflict.

Hiding, avoiding, ignoring conflict is unhealthy.  The stress of the conflict can and will affect our mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.  When our wellbeing is not “well”, it affects all areas of our lives.  When we have a workplace conflict, we notice that productivity, performance, morale, and success begin to fail because the conflict causes increased frustration, pain, discomfort, fatigue, trust issues, sadness, anger, and uncertainty.  Create an area of understanding when there is a conflict.  Allow conversation, room for resolution, and no fear of retaliation.  Begin by offering Mediation/Conflict Resolution/Conflict Coaching services – and not through your HR department. (Unfortunately, almost 80% of individuals do not trust their HR Department.  So, if HR is not trusted, why would team members feel safe discussing grievances or conflicts with them?)  These services will facilitate and open dialogue and help those who are in dispute have an unfiltered, understanding conversation.

Remember: In every conflict, there are certain areas of agreement.  Stating those areas first will create a positive connection to work from.

Conflict is inevitable. How you react with conflict says a great deal about you as a person and a great deal about you as a co-worker, business owner, executive, or CEO.  Being able to keep your cool and create understanding in trying situations is an invaluable skill and one well worth cultivating, especially in the work world.

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