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I hate conflict. So this quote by Nancy Ortberg, founding partner of Teamworx2, scared me: “Conflict is basically energy, and when it is not dealt with directly, it goes somewhere else. Unaired conflict goes into the parking lot or behind closed doors. It becomes ‘malicious compliance’ and results in artificial harmony, not deep community. Conflict isn’t pleasant, but it’s your necessary friend. Do not avoid it; insist on it.”

Ugh. Do I have to?

How does your company handle conflict? What do you do when there’s conflict between coworkers? Does a manager intervene or do you make ‘em duke it out? Can you tell the difference between mere personality conflicts that should be ignored versus real issues that need to be addressed?

How do you handle conflict with Ms. Jones? Do you openly acknowledge that there’s a problem, or do you disguise it in corporate-speak that dances around the issue? Do you apologize, straight up without trying to cover your butt? Are you willing to send up your white flag? Actually, that’s the easiest thing to do and Ms. Jones expects it. Haven’t we told her that she is always right? That’s why she gets away with her bullying. But who are we kidding, she’s not always right and she knows it. Are you willing to stand your ground and defend your fort, even if you win the battle but lose the customer?

Ms. Jones brings every unaired conflict in her life into your store, and sometimes you take the brunt of her bad day. Other times, you deserve it.  But can you diffuse it?

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