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Conflict in the workplace: DiSC profiles and related readings

Everything DiSC Productive Conflict map

Everything DiSC Productive Conflict map of priorities

Conflict often makes the top ten list of worries for managers, businesses, and even families. Letting conflict go too far can even lead to retaliation. Having a plan for dealing with conflict, or preventing it in the first place, can make your company a place where people enjoy working hard and creatively.

Suggested DiSC resources:


Everything DiSC Conflict Map from The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team

Everything DiSC Conflict Map from The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team

An Exercise to Help Your Team Feel More Comfortable with Conflict, Harvard Business Review, March 2019
“The ability to get issues on the table and work through them constructively is critical to having a healthy culture.”

Understanding Why We Overreact at Work, Harvard Business Review, December 2017
“If you have ever had an emotional reaction to someone which was clearly too intense for the situation, you have most likely experienced a transference reaction.”

3 Effective Strategies to Manage Workplace Conflict, Harvard Extension School
“There’s no way to avoid tension altogether, of course. But if you are capable of carefully navigating and resolving such discord, you’ll find you can improve dynamics for yourself and your team—and together you can deliver the results you strive for.”

Should You Share Your Feelings During a Work Conflict? Harvard Business Review, December 2017
“And the real issue is not whether you reveal your emotions or not. What’s most important is that you have the ability to choose whether or not to share your feelings.”

How People with Different Conflict Styles Can Work Together, Harvard Business Review, July 2017
“The avoiders among us shy away from disagreements, value harmony and positive relationships, and will often try to placate people or even change the topic. Avoiders don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or disrupt team dynamics.”

Why Workplace Conflict Can Be Healthy, SHRM HR Magazine, April 2017
“Negative conflict, characterized by struggling against other people, drains energy, which is costly to companies, teams and relationships.”

How to Preempt Team Conflict, Harvard Business Review, June 2016
“Early discussions should touch on not only the risks of venting but also the danger of bottling things up. The tendency to signal irritation or discontent indirectly—through withdrawal, sarcasm, and privately complaining about one another—can be just as destructive as volatile outbursts and intimidation.”

Workplace Conflicts? 4 Ways to Improve Communication, Business News Daily, February 2016
“If clashing personalities are the root cause of a lot of your team’s problems, work on being more aware of the differences in how you view a situation.”

How Leaders Can Best Manage Conflict Within Their Teams, Entrepreneur, June 2015
“Educate your team on these points, and then help them to shift their perspective by doing this team-building exercise.”

DiSC personalities under stress, Talent Gear, August 2015
“When coaching people knowledgeable about their DiSC style, you can help them deal with their struggles by reminding them that others of their style have the same issues when under stress. Plus we can all learn to flex into other styles and act more positively.”

Dealing with conflict in the workplace, The Washington Post, May 2015
“Workplace conflicts can emerge in any number of forms, but there are some general, garden-variety types that I see on a repeated basis: conflicts with the boss, conflicts with peers and conflicts among a manager’s direct reports or teammates.”

Brene Brown On the Right Way to Argue at Work, Inc, March 2015
“The best thing to do when you’re arguing is to not focus on winning, but instead to listen to the other person’s story and address what he or she thinks is the source of the original conflict.”

8 ways to welcome conflict on your team, Talent Gear, June 2014
“How can you encourage your team to welcome conflict and not shy away from it? How can Identifying shared objectives, using group facilitation skills, confronting passive-aggressive behavior, avoiding ignorance of conflict, etc. improve your “team?

Nice Managers Embrace Conflict, Too, HBR Blogs, October 2013
“And even in the day-to-day, workplace conflict is still inevitable because organizations are full of bright, ambitious people with different points of view, controversial ideas, and disparate values. There’s no way that we can get along with everyone all the time.”

From Conflict to Compassion in the Workplace, Psychology Today, March 2013
“Workplace conflict brings out the worst in people, and the worse people behave, the more convinced they will be that their behavior is both justified and necessary. What we rarely see in moments of conflict are admissions of error, particularly among those in power, as well as genuine efforts to listen and constructively respond to the ideas and perceptions of others.”

How to Handle Workplace Conflict: One Simple Suggestion, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2013
“Sometimes, when conflicts arise between colleagues, things get said (or written) that should probably be left unexpressed. Or to put it another way, concerns and objections are not always communicated in the most appropriate way.”

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: Shifting People from Positions to Interests, New Directions Consulting, August 29, 2012
“Positions are almost instantaneous; interests are not. They take deeper thought, introspection and understanding.”

Study suggests sleep deprivation can influence professional behaviour, Therapy Toronto News, August 28, 2012
“One of the sleep-deprived subjects responded with an unprofessional, personal attack. This is just one example Ellis and Christian cite to demonstrate how sleep deprivation reduces self-control and increases hostility.”

10 Tips for Tackling the Toughest Workplace Conflicts, U.S.News, July 2012
“Each employee possesses a unique set of attitudes, ideals, and beliefs that may differ from that of their co-workers. Sometimes, these personal differences can lead to conflicts in the office. Here are 10 tips for resolving workplace disputes…”

Conflict Keeps Teams at the Top of Their Game, Harvard Business Review, July 2012
“For instance, rivalry within a team helps weed out inefficiencies and — however uncomfortable it may feel at times — also keeps people at the top of their game. Besides, high performers are naturally competitive and to not allow them to express their competitive nature is to deny them something that is very much part of who they are.”

TED, June 2012
“Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.”

The body in the suitcase and the conflict stories we tell, Tammy Lenski LLC, December 2011
“We do this in conflict too, of course — make up stories. We make guesses to fill in blanks about things we don’t understand in the situation or the other person.”

Fear and loathing of co-workers: A surprising cause of absenteeism, The HRCafe, January 2011
“Employees have a lot of reasons for calling out “sick” other than genuine illness. Here’s one you may not have thought of: They’re afraid of, or angry at, a co-worker.”

The Most Important Thing To Know About Conflict, Psychology Today, September 2010
“Barter’s theory is that painful conflict has to do with unmet – and unheard – needs (let’s say for respect, security, love, safety). The further we move away from the communication of the unmet need, the louder that communication needs to become to get our attention.”

Can negativity save a failing marriage? Association for Psychological Science, June 2010
“In marriages where one’s partner is frequently unkind or insulting, being unforgiving appears to pay off. In such troubled couples, too much forgiveness simply increases the likelihood that the cruelty will continue—and lead to more disharmony over time.”

Conformity: Ten Timeless Influencers, PsyBlog, February 2010
“Conformity is not in itself a good or a bad thing. For example, creativity is built on some of the pillars of nonconformity: ignoring social norms and authority, eschewing social approval, rejecting structure and cultivating dissent. On the other hand many of societies most basic institutions—government, finance, transport, education—would collapse if people didn’t conform.”

Make Conflict Drive Results, Harvard Business Review, February 2008
“The most effective executives know how to minimize the bad conflict while cultivating the good. This balancing act begins by developing a new mindset regarding conflict.”


Patrick Lencioni on conflict


Leading Through Conflict, HRB Ideacast, August 2006
Mark Gerzon, mediation expert and author of Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities.












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