The why, what and how of conflict


The why, what and how of conflict

The why, what and how of conflict

This video really sets the scene for this Program. In it, Elise examines what conflict really is, why it occurs, and why we react to conflict the way we do. Elise also introduces an approach to dealing with conflict that helps you achieve more constructive results.

The topics and lessons following this video then unpack the key concepts and strategies presented in this video- and provide you with the tools, techniques and practice exercises to apply the ideas in your real life.


Organisational conflict exists on a continuum – from the difference of opinion to full blown industrial warfare where people are making claims of bullying and harassment – or worse. We are not focusing on the high end in this program – and I do not expect you to be able to formally mediate such matters after this session.  If you are dealing with the stuff at the hard end, I suggest that you seek expert support from your industrial body or a qualified mediator.

However, the reality is that in most cases, these huge conflicts started very, very small!!  However, even these ‘little’ differences of opinion, or views of reality can feel pretty uncomfortable and difficult to deal with.  So these things are ignored and left to grow unabated.

When the cause of the conflict is not addressed, it gains momentum.  People are left to interpret or speculate what it all means and what is happening.  And being incredibly imaginative creatures, we usually think the worse.  Actually this is tied to our self-preservation wiring – better to assume the worse and prepare, right?

So this program is about getting to the bottom of why people (and managers in particular) often avoid dealing with conflict; how to stop avoiding it and develop constructive ways of responding to disagreements, conflict and difficult conversations – all of which naturally occur in everyday life.

If we are really good at this, we can prevent a lot of the big stuff.  And, if we can create a culture that deals constructively with differences – even invites these differences, then your staff can better manage their own ‘stuff’ and much of it won’t even get to you!!

As a case study, Elise presents the results of a public services climate survey (People Matter) and what is says about how well public organisations such as public hospitals handle conflict.


But first, share in the Forum what outcomes you hope to achieve by doing this module.

The complete working book is available here for you to download – or you can download the sections you need as you work through the module.

Conflict workbook


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