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How Managers Manage Conflict

How Managers manage conflict

Conflict is inevitable – Combat is optional.

I love this line. This is the reality I want Managers to experience. However many perceive that conflict is inevitable, therefore combat is inevitable! This demonstrates why so many Managers avoid a tricky conversation. They assume that conflict equals combat and either circumvents conflict altogether or readies themselves for a fight.

Management Training like Inspiring Managers really helps Managera to handle difficult conversations. Here’s a few tips from the program to help you.

Positive or Negative Feedback

We label feedback and energise it with a positive or negative charge. It’s no surprise we want to avoid the negative. If you’re about to give ‘negative’ feedback the question arises (consciously or unconsciously) what’s in it for me? Not a lot, so many disengage or disregard. We become apathetic to conflict. This is a self-centred approach which lacks empathy. There is no place for ego in a performance conversation. In fact it’s not about you (the manager) at all. So stop labelling feedback and treat it as either constructive or not. For example:


Observation based evidence

Problem focused



Ego based

Interpretations and Judgments

Person focused



If you have your own interests at heart then conflict will rise not recede.

The Solution

Really try to understand how this conflict came about. Be objective and focus your attention on the problem not the person. Actively listen and when it is time to open your mouth make sure you talk about the behaviour rather than condemning any individual as ‘bad’. You can be candid and kind.

It’s simple, but not easy and Managers need training in this area. Inspiring Manager offers a full Management Training Program and we take a deep dive into effective feedback. It’s no wonder 70% of professionals don’t trust their Manager. That’s not because Managers are hopeless professionals, it’s because they’ve never been taught how to best handle these difficult conversations.





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