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How Do People Handle Conflict?

How Do People Handle Conflict?

By: Ross Paterson

The Hand Grenade and the Ostrich

Every family has that one person; high drama, button pusher, control freak, pot stirrer, political activist. Bringing stress and dysfunction to every holiday gathering. You can probably picture this person in your mind, and your body is already having a reaction. If you are not sure who that person is in your family… it might be you.

In the high-stakes world of business ownership, leadership, and life in general, conflict is inevitable. Most of us are poorly trained in this critical leadership/human skill, so we approach the challenge in one of two ways.

  1. Head on Confrontation: The proverbial hand grenade approach. The result is a big mess with heavy collateral damage that requires lots of clean up and healing. The lasting scars may never completely heal.
  2. Avoidance: The ostrich with its head in the sand. Perhaps a fear of conflict, lack of process, or any other excuse keeps us from engaging in the conversation. This approach is equally unhealthy, because we can seldom let go of the issue. The stress of unresolved conflict builds, fogs up the relationship, and hinders organizational performance.


All the time our clients spend developing the basic building blocks of leadership (vision, planning, delegation, accountability, etc.) can be completely undermined by a conflict poorly handled. Xtra Mile Leaders multiply their ability to influence by mastering the skills necessary to successfully navigate difficult conversations.

Next blog, a simple guide to healthy conflict.