In our blog last month we introduced 10 ways to facilitate conflict. This time we consider the pros and cons of intervening in the first place, when two people are in conflict:

1. How serious is the problem?

2. What other behavioural signals have been observed in the past with the 2 employees i.e. is there a more deep seated reason behind the conflict?

3. How much time will intervening take? Do we have that time?

4. How much of a disruption will intervening cause?

5. How will the flow of the meeting impact on relationships? Can the intervention hurt the climate?

6. What’s the chance the intervention will work or fail?

7. Am I the most appropriate person to chair the intervention?

Finally a good question to ask is: “What will happen if I do nothing?”

If the answer is that the individuals involved (or the work group) will be less effective if you do nothing, you’re obligated to take action. The longer the conflict carries on, the more ingrained the attitudes can become.

“Great leaders encourage dissent and diversity in the pursuit of a shared vision and understand the difference between healthy, creative dissent and self serving obstructionism. They are able to discern what different people need at different times”
WARREN BENNIS (Pioneer of leadership studies)

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