Conflict – Why we need it and how we should manage it.

Conflict is natural.  Conflict in the workplace is a source of inspiration and creativity.  When we are discussing ideas and approaches to changing a work product or process it is natural that people will advocate for their side of the argument.  People are passionate about their work because they spend so much of their life operating in the work environment.  However, unrestrained conflict or undirected conflict is not desirable.  Leadership and management are the tools to deal with conflict to make sure it is productive.  If we are all on the same team and we all are trying to meet the same goal then we should discipline ourselves to restrain our own emotions when conflict occurs.

Since we are aware that not all people have the skills or wish to manage their emotions for the sake of others, the organization needs to adopt a process of conflict resolution.  Organizations invests a lot of resources in its workers so it is not good to let those resources walk out the door or become unproductive because of conflict.  In my experience, I implemented my organization’s peer mediation program and taught mediation for ten years.

The members of my team did not get paid extra money for performing the services, nor did we get overtime when we came in on our off days to conduct mediations.  Our members cared about the organization and the people in the organization and we knew the value of our services. We were effective in addressing conflict.  We understood that people had the solutions and just needed a format to aire their views in a controlled environment.  We provided safety and security but also a way to reign in hot tempers and raw emotions.  We also had leaders that had strict policies about workplace behavior.

Because we had an outlet for conflict we could manage the environment in the workplace.  If you don’t have a program for people to vent, then you can expect an explosive human environment.  Managing human emergencies is a four step process just like managing any other hazard.  Mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery options can be applied to conflict.  Conflict management is a great mitigation tool and educating employees on how to ease conflict in the workplace is as well.  A mediation team can be considered responders to workplace conflict.  Wellness programs can be designed for the recovery phase.  There are many organizations that teach people on how to become mediators. If you need help in setting up a program check out my website and contact me.  I will be happy to aid you and your organization in building a program.  Email me at


About managingemergencies

I am a professional consultant with 30 years of experience in managing emergencies. My background and skills gave me the foundation to start Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants. If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees contact me via email at I held various positions in the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department until I retired in 2007. As a emergency planner and trainer in the Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security I planned exercises and training for government agencies and citizens groups. I was appointed Fire Chief of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 2009. I started Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants in June of that year. I had the opportunity to become the Assistant Fire Chief - Operations of the District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department and served for a year as the Interim Fire Chief. I am a trained mediator, mediator team leader and trainer. I also served as the Fire/EMS Department Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
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