Introduction

Quarrels would not last long if the fault were only on one side.

—François de La Rochefoucauld

Every day in offices, retail stores, factories, and any number of other workplaces, people are having conflicts with co-workers. Whether you work for a nonprofit organization, a small family business, a Fortune 100 company, or a fledgling upstart, if you work with at least one other person, it's safe to say that you have disagreements and face difficulties at times. It's normal, natural, and nothing to fear.

You can drive yourself bonkers trying to create a workplace that's completely void of conflict all the time. And why would you want to create such a work environment? Contrary to what you may believe, conflict isn't inherently all bad. When handled properly, conflict can actually create positive changes and new opportunities in your organization. Successfully making the shift in your perspective from seeing only the negative in disagreements to seeing the prospect for positive change is the first step to resolving difficulties.

But how do you go about finding positive outcomes in what on the surface looks like a negative situation? You have to become skilled at calming the infernos by helping employees through discussions that prove to them that they can solve their own issues without always having to have someone (you!) in the middle, acting as referee. Become a coach for your team — someone they can trust to bring the real and right issues to the table for effective problem ...

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