Conflict can be Healthy

Most people avoid conflict, including in the workplace.  When conflict is approached in a positive way, conflict may spark innovation, trust and engagement.  Struggling with others through the conflict to reach acceptable solutions is referred to as “compassionate accountability”.


  • Doesn’t need to be destructive
  • Should be leveraged rather than managed or controlled
  • Can be handled with compassion

In order to promote healthy conflict managers should strive to:

  • Be more open: Empathize with others.  Understand their motives, emotions and responses.  Try asking, “How are you doing with this transition?” instead of “How did that make you feel?”  Take time to listen and validate the other person’s feelings.
  • Be more resourceful: Ask for the other person’s ideas before sharing your own.  If you disagree, respect the others’ intentions.
  • Be persistent: See things through with integrity and respect.  Make your expectations clear.  Hold yourself and others accountable.  Be sure to acknowledge when you make mistakes, and try to make it right.

Keep in mind conflict is always emotional.  We need to create a safe place for people to talk about and pursue their emotional motives and assist with developing strategies for healthy resolutions.

HR Magazine “Battle On” Dori Meinert, May 2017

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