The Mechanics of Conflict

Nov 13, 2019

Conflict is an uncomfortable, yet unavoidable part of every workplace.

That’s not the first time you’ve heard this sentiment from us, and it won’t be the last. Because on the one hand, conflict has the potential to cripple organizational culture. But on the other hand, it can also fuel productivity, problem solving, and innovation. So an in-depth look at what conflict is, common approaches to it, and opportunities for improvement is more than warranted.

Conflict presents itself in many ways—unfortunately, most of them are pretty destructive, and in some instances, even toxic. You’ve probably run into damaging conflict behaviors like passive-aggression, gossiping, stonewalling, or hypercriticism more than once throughout the course of your career. Odds are, you’ve even been guilty of displaying some of these yourself. And these behaviors have a pretty significant drawback on our workplace, from affecting an organization’s bottom line to increasing employee turnover. Most of the time, we don’t even consciously realize why we act out in these destructive ways—it’s just that conflict tends to draw out the worst in us as human beings. Of course, we do have real driving motives for why we present these behaviors, but in the heat of the moment, it’s incredibly difficult for most of us to think that clearly.

We say these destructive conflict behaviors are “under the hood” because of their subconscious nature. Our toxic knee-jerk reactions are generally a response to deeper, more complicated thoughts or emotions we experience during conflict—it’s just that the knee-jerk reaction (such as belittling or sarcasm) is easier to process and unleash than reflecting on our deeper motivations. But don’t panic. We are not powerless. While we might not be able to control all the circumstances surrounding conflict, we do have the power to choose how we respond. In fact, there actually is a scalable, empirically validated way to choose more productive responses—and it’s more accessible than you might think.

Under the Hood exposes the hidden connection between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, revealing the secret engine that drives destructive conflict in the workplace. This eBook also points to the solution with a proven methodology that’s grounded in psychology and validated in the field by Authorized Partners of Everything DiSC®. This method empowers all people to put their conscious selves back in the driver’s seat and productively engage in conflict.

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