Chapter 20. Ten Reasons Managers Give for Not Addressing Conflict

In This Chapter

  • Avoiding issues deliberately

  • Being reluctant or unable to address conflict

  • Fearing consequences

Over the course of providing mediation services, I've heard a lot of rationale for managerial inaction. Whenever I hear someone say he's done nothing, I remind him that doing nothing is doing something — it's making a decision to ignore a conflict that's evident to at least one person, and possibly many more.

In this chapter, I list the ten statements (in no particular order) for not addressing conflict that I hear most often from managers. If you find yourself repeating one of these statements, use the tips I give you in this book to determine and find the resources you need, hone your coaching skills, have a productive conversation with a colleague, or try a new approach to an old problem.

I Don't Really Know How

Managers — especially new managers — tend to be at a loss the first time a conflict arises and it doesn't just sort itself out. Finding the right language and the right techniques to use at the right time takes finesse. For some people, that dexterity comes naturally, but for others, perhaps even you, it's a learned skill that comes with experience, training, and opportunity. This book is a great place to start! Check out Chapter 5 to gain insight into how to evaluate the details of a conflict, and see Chapters 13 and 14 to consider internal and external resources.

I Don't Want to Open a Can of Worms ...

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