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Interpersonal conflict occurs daily when:

  • We perceive that someone is impeding on or threatening our needs or goals
  • Two or more persons seek to possess the same object, resource, position
  • People maintain incompatible goals, values, or motives


Conflicts can be caused by differences in:

  • Information - do we have the same data?
  • Perceptions - do we see things from different backgrounds & experiences?
  • Roles/priorities - do we have different status or positions which causes us to take a different stand?
  • Relationships/assumptions - do we have the trust level needed to address the issue?


Conflict is a product of our uniqueness & so it is inevitable - its absence would be abnormal. Some kinds of conflict can contribute to the health & well-being of an organization. Other kinds of conflict can be detrimental to an organization and/or its employees.

But a conflict is only one component of a relationship. Often, we are not in conflict with the other person but with that component. Success is addressing that component vs. attacking the other person or defending our ego.

Why you should Attend

Functional organizational conflict:

  • Is constructive, healthy & cooperative
  • Is when the parties are talking & focused on achieving a mutually acceptable outcome
  • Generates new perspectives & ideas
  • Allows options to be debated
  • Enables Individuals & teams to grow
  • A component of high-performing teams


During functional conflicts we feel:

  • Optimistic
  • Full of ideas
  • Heard
  • Valued
  • Trusted
  • Respected


Dysfunctional Organizational Conflict

  • Generates little if any benefit to the parties
  • Negatively impacts the well-being of the parties & organization
  • Hijacks time, energy & trust


During dysfunctional conflicts we feel:

  • Vulnerable
  • Angry
  • Frustrated
  • Anxious
  • Attacked
  • Stressed


Ineffective approaches to managing conflicts include:

  • Ignoring it & hoping it will go away
  • Not discussing the issues objectively
  • Premature judgments/conclusions
  • Using intimidation & inappropriate use of power


These ineffective approaches are triggered by four universal, instinctive responses to conflict:

  • Fight: confront the issue & stand our ground
  • Flight: run away & fight another day
  • Freeze: do nothing & wait to see what happens
  • Fall: yield & give in


However, effective leaders & negotiators know when & how to utilize each of the five conflict resolution strategies:

  • Waiting & Avoiding - ‘The Turtle’
  • Accommodating - ‘The Teddy Bear’
  • Using Power - ‘The Shark’
  • Compromising - ‘The Fox’
  • Collaborating - ‘The Owl’

Areas Covered in the Session

Managing Conflicts with Individuals

  • What is interpersonal conflict?
  • What causes conflict?
  • Functional vs. dysfunctional conflict
  • Words that lead to conflicts
  • Resolving conflicts by asking questions
  • Our four instinctive responses to conflicts
  • Five conflict resolution strategies
  • Managing conflict with the AEIOU model


How to resolve conflicts by separating:

  • Solutions to the problem
  • Commonalities from differences
  • Future from the past
  • Negotiation from emotions
  • Process from content
  • Options from preferences


How collaboration:

  • Is more pleasurable & respectful
  • Can produce better & longer-lasting results
  • Builds relationships
  • Encourages learning
  • Inspires novel thinking & ideas


Tips for Collaborating During a Conflict

  • Recognize that conflict can be a positive experience
  • Try to see the issues from the other party’s point-of-view
  • Focus on satisfying both parties’ interests vs. defending your position
  • Commit to resolving the underlying issues
  • Speak with clarity & without judgment
  • Seek alternatives that are focused on shared interests


Managing Conflicts within Teams

Functional Conflict is a Component of High-Performance Teams & Organizations

Utilizing the Action Planning Conflict Resolution Process which:

  • Obtains from the participants their proposals for resolving the issues causing the conflict
  • Then facilitates the participants discussing their proposals, developing & implementing an action plan to resolve the conflict


Benefits of the Action Planning Conflict Resolution Process:

  • Issues addressed are current & of the highest priority to the participants
  • All participants have an equal voice in the process throughout each step creating maximum participation, buy-in & Ownership
  • Maximum candor since names are not associated with the participants’ responses
  • Saves meeting time by being able to immediately display & begin discussing the participants’ proposals
  • Results in an action plan - that has a ‘life’ after the planning meeting - with accountabilities & deadlines for addressing the issues


Action Planning Conflict Resolution Process Steps:

  • Identifying the issues causing the conflict
  • Obtaining the participants’ proposed initiatives for resolving each issue
  • In a planning meeting:
    • Reviewing & discussing the anonymous proposals
    • Developing an action plan with team accountabilities & deadlines
  • Implementing the action plan in teams
  • Evaluating the results of the action plan

Who Will Benefit

  • Any Employee
  • Manager or Non-Supervisory

Speaker Profile

Pete Tosh is Founder of The Focus Group, a management consulting and training firm that assists organizations in sustaining profitable growth through four core disciplines:

Implementing Strategic HR Initiatives: Executive Search, Conducting HR Department Audits, Enhancing Recruiting, Interviewing & Selection Processes, Installing Performance Management Programs, Conducting Training Needs Assessments, Installing HR Metrics, etc.

Maximizing Leadership Effectiveness: Facilitating Team Building Initiatives, Designing and Facilitating 360 Performance Assessments, Executive Coaching, Measuring and Enhancing Employee Engagement and Performance, etc.

Strategic Planning: Facilitating Strategic Planning Events, Establishing Succession Plans, Installing Business Performance Metrics, etc.

Enhancing Customer Loyalty: Conducting Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Facilitating Customer Advisory Councils, Developing Standards of Performance and Scripts for Key Customer Touch Points, etc.

The Focus Group has provided these consulting and training services to manufacturing and service organizations across the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Middle East. Pete has worked closely with the leadership teams of organizations such as Exxon, Brinks, EMC, State Farm, Marriott, N.C.I. YKK and Freddie Mac to :

• Align corporate organizational structures with their strategic initiatives - while insuring value creation for their customer bases.

• Ascertain customers’ primary needs and perceptions of organizations’ performance relative to that of their competitors.

• Develop and implement customer loyalty enhancement processes - based on specific customer feedback - that delivered sustainable advantages in the marketplace.

• Implement performance management programs, executive coaching, compensation systems and other HR processes to strategically direct and reward desired employee behavior.

Prior to founding his own firm 25 years ago, Pete had 15 years of experience -at the plant, divisional and corporate levels - in Human Resource and Quality functions. Pete held leadership positions - to include the V.P. of Human Resources and Quality - with Allied Signal, Imperial Chemical Industries, Reynolds Metals, Charter Medical and Access Integrated Networks.

Pete also frequently develops and facilitates a variety of leadership development programs including: Strategic Planning, Moving from an Operational Manager to a Strategic Leader, Strategic HR Management, The Fundamentals of Human Resource Management, Recruiting, Interviewing & Selection, Employment Law and Utilizing HR Metrics. Employees from over 3,000 organizations have benefited from Pete’s experience and perspective. Pete is co-author of Leading Your Organization to the Next Level: the Core Disciplines of Sustained Profitable Growth.

Pete holds a B.A. degree in Psychology from Emory and Henry College and Masters degrees in both Business Administration and Industrial Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.