Introduction: A Practical Plan for Dealing with Conflict

Let’s face it: There’s no such thing as a conflict-free office. We fight at work. We disagree about how to implement a new IT system. We battle over which strategy to pursue. We engage in turf wars about who gets to lead the website redesign project. And sometimes, we just act like passive-aggressive jerks toward one another.

And as uncomfortable and draining as conflict can be, conflict in and of itself isn’t really the problem. It’s how we handle it that matters.

Consider these two fictional stories:

Celia and her colleague, Sara, disagreed about how to word an important provision in a client contract. As the legal expert, Celia felt Sara’s suggestion was too vague and perhaps even intentionally ...

Get HBR Guides to Emotional Intelligence at Work Collection (5 Books) (HBR Guide Series) now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.