Managing Conflict
Safely & Respectfully

By Joyce Odidison, MA. MCC. CTDP. 

Conflict can happen when the needs and interests of those involved are in competition. Conflict at work can happen when two employees or departments perceive competition for scarce resources such as time, budget allocation, respect, recognition, staffing, and other functional elements that make work enjoyable, efficient, and satisfactory. 

Imagine two departments, locked in a battle over budget allocations. One sees the funds as crucial for an innovative project that could redefine the company’s future; the other views it as essential fuel to maintain crucial, ongoing operations. Here, conflict isn’t just an inconvenience—it’s a critical dialogue about the future direction of the company. 

Conflict is a normal part of a healthy diverse, and thriving workplace, the way we respond to conflict will determine how quickly and easily it is resolved.  

But what if we could see these conflicts not as barriers, but as bridges? What if, in that moment of heated debate, we pause—a deliberate, powerful pause—giving space for understanding and transformation? This pause is where magic happens, where we step back and choose a response that elevates rather than escalates. 

When we see workplace conflict as catalyst for change, it is easier to pause and recognize the competing needs and interest before reacting.  

We often find ourselves trapped in the heat of the moment, our positions hardening, demanding concessions as the only path forward. This can spiral quickly into a destructive vortex of stress and distraction. However, it is crucial to step out of the battle and into a mindset of resolution. By understanding our emotional triggers and mastering conflict resolution techniques, we can navigate these stormy waters with grace and effectiveness. 

Key Strategies for Masterful Conflict Resolution: 

Pause and Reflect: Before responding, take a moment to understand the underlying needs and motivations on both sides. 

Embrace Diversity: View each conflict as an opportunity to explore new perspectives and solutions, each unique and requiring its own approach. 

Active Listening: Show genuine respect and consideration for other viewpoints, which can transform defensive postures into collaborative dialogues. 

Avoid Blame: Finger-pointing only fuels the fire. Instead, focus on the issue, not the person. This can also be viewed as a show of disrespect. 

Positive Intentions: Approach each conflict with the goal of finding a solution, not winning an argument. 

Express Needs Clearly: Rather than staking out positions, openly share your needs and concerns, encouraging others to do the same. 

By fostering an environment where conflicts are navigated thoughtfully and constructively, we not only resolve issues but also build stronger, more resilient teams. Remember, the goal is not to eliminate conflict but to harness it as a force for growth and innovation. 

It is important to understand your conflict response styles and develop your emotional intelligence to help you respond appropriately to conflicts. 


Odidison, J. (2016). Hurt, Upset, Angry, Frustrated? Surprising ways to understand and deal with your conflicts. Available at: