Diagnosing Conflict

Conflict in the workplace has three primary sources.  The first two are most common:  Disagreement over objectives and differences over alternatives.  For example, Democrats and Republicans agree that the “fiscal cliff” needs to be avoided, but disagree on how.  Israel and the U.S. agree that Iran’s nuclear program must be curtailed, but disagree on the approach.

When you aren’t clear what the source of the disagreement is, it’s common for objectives and alternatives to get intermingled and then it’s very difficult to make any headway.  In Chicago, the teachers union and mayor Emanuel with the Board of Education both claim to only have the best interest of schoolchildren at heart…wait…is that the objective?

Conflict is part of everyday life.  Zero in on the source of the conflict to find a faster resolution.

The third cause of conflict?  Mutual dislike, personality disorders, and other factors having nothing to do with objectives or alternatives.

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