Conflict and the Misuse of Differences

Two agressive businessmen fighting in the office

The pleasures of fall colors in Maine, a sunset in the Caribbean, a waterfall veiling into the Columbia River are experiences we prize as different from our everyday life. We save our money to make them the focal point of vacations. We regale our friends with stories about such wonder. Differences are the source of rare beauty and joy. Viva la difference!

Then there are the differences that source the mutilations of poverty, racism, sexism, and war. That are behind the dysfunctions of teams, families. That drive us to avoid conversations about politics and religion. That have us bend ourselves into the shape of those we see as more potent than we are. The differences of opinion, thought, and belief we dare not share in fear of disapproval and ostracism.

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Managing Team Conflict

Cynthia Phillips, Ph.D., Guest Author

Purpose of this Paper

  • Describe the nature of conflict in teams
  • Define types of conflict and describe how each manifests in a team
  • Identify reasons why team members struggle with conflict
  • Describe how a team leader can manage conflict within the team
  • Summarize my key learning, with recommendation for an intervention that may work in a group conflict situation
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