Good communication is key to effective leadership, and the ability to tackle conflicts is one of the key characteristics of effective leaders. It turns out, though, that conflict solving might be really daunting and most people would rather avoid conflicts altogether rather than engage with them.

And yet, pretending that something doesn’t exist is never a good solution…

Check out: Tackle Conflicts with Conversation




  • dispute – a disagreement or argument
  • flee – run away from a place or situation of danger
  • quell – suppress, put an end to
  • resolve – settle or find a solution to (a problem or contentious matter)
  • springboard – a thing that lends impetus or assistance to a particular action, enterprise, or development
  • thrive – flourish, prosper, grow


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What happened to the author three weeks after her wedding? How did she react? What was her husband’s reaction?
  • How is effective leadership similar to a good marriage?
  • What are three typical ways of avoiding dealing with a conflict?
  • What are the three conversation-centered techniques that can help you embrace disagreement?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the words in bold.

at   –   on   –   as (x2)   –   with   –   of   –   onto

When you fail to engage ________ a conflict, you can’t gather the input you need to find a workable solution. And it hurts your image ________ a leader. Take Sarah, the head of IT ________ a global technology company. Her job was to develop new engagement technologies in her organization, but instead ________ embracing critical feedback ________  her ideas, she ignored it. When people challenged her, she would simply reiterate her points, smile, nod and move ________ something else as though the issue had been resolved, leaving everyone frustrated. Team members and colleagues began to see her ________ a conflict avoider, and she lost their trust.


Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the words in CAPITAL LETTERS.

All the companies I work with have checklists of ________ BEHAVE their leaders need to thrive at the top. Chief among these are ________ COURAGEOUS, ________ RESILIENT and ________ AGILE in the face of change. There’s no question that an ability to manage conflict is part and parcel of all three. So the next time you’re faced with a situation in which positions are hardened and ________ AGREE seems inevitable, don’t avoid it. Engage in conversation, and tackle the conflict head on.


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