Conflict always will be present around a great leader. Unchecked, the emotions surrounding conflict can keep you from coming up with good solutions for those parties involved. If handled effectively, conflict can help spur a team on to high performance. Consider the following pointers when managing conflict:

  • Stick to the facts. Focus on the facts of the situation; be wary of acting on assumptions or behavioral observations that are open to interpretation.
  • Use “I” statements. “You” statements can sound accusatory and put people on the defensive.
  • Seek to understand the other person’s position. By demonstrating your willingness to listen, you encourage the other person to listen to you.
  • Frame the conflict as a mutual challenge. Express your willingness to explore creative win-win solutions.

These tips were adapted from the March 2012 Infoline, “Competencies for 21st Century Leaders,” available at