An alternative way to look at conflict in teams

Why thinking in terms of “conflict resolution” isn’t helping

What is conflict?

Why do we fear addressing conflicts?

  • What if we break the team?
  • What if I hurt someone?
  • What if it creates chaos?
  • What if it gets in the way of the work?

An alternative way of looking at conflict

How how can we transform conflicts?

“Leaders who do not fully grasp the concept that conflict of some sort is necessary and even desirable to teaming are destined to fail in all but the most routine of work environments.” — Amy Edmondson, “Teaming”

  • Identify the nature of the conflict
  • Model good communication
  • Identify shared goals
  • Encourage difficult conversations

In summary…

  • Let’s shift our thinking from “conflict resolution” to “conflict transformation”
  • Conflict offers us all kinds of gifts — new ideas, refined thinking, greater connection and much, much more…
  • To transform it we must acknowledge it and start to talk about it
  • Transforming conflict requires patience, wisdom and skill — it will likely be painful and we have to be prepared to fail



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Lisa Gill

Founder of Reimaginaire, trainer and coach with Tuff Leadership Training, host of Leadermorphosis podcast.