Sorting Through Conflict Before Heading into Work

Shaun H. Ruff


Sorting Through Conflict Before Heading into Work

With significant cancellations of flights, challenging trips, and mountains of luggage, the summer holiday season is in full swing. As workers get ready to travel further afield after several years of staycations

Booking their vacation time, making sure they have travel insurance, and starting to think about what to take.

Luggage is more than merely a place to store clothes and phone chargers. Whether on holiday, or back at work, the baggage of previous experiences is also brought along for the ride. When a manager is tasked with solving a technical issue, they may reach for their bag of skills. 

However, it may frequently become a burden, delaying or even stopping progress toward the intended goal.

Past conflict experiences, prejudices, and assumptions all have a big impact on how individuals respond to problems when they emerge.

Mental baggage has to be unpacked, analyzed, and repacked with the goods that will be most helpful for the voyage ahead to decrease turbulence when handling these difficult situations.




While in conflict, it can be tempting to think about what someone else did wrong, and what they should have done instead. Making mistakes won’t make things better. Therefore, unpacking our conflict-related baggage is a good place to start.

Conflict behaviors, prejudices, biases, and thinking and behavior patterns that have been ingrained over time are all part of this psychological baggage. Spending less time pointing the finger at others and more time examining and comprehending ourselves is necessary to deal with this excess baggage. A useful first step is to become more aware of one’s trigger spots. For instance, a staff member may be more sensitive if their contribution to a new project isn’t acknowledged if they have previously encountered a coworker stealing credit for their work. A manager may fail to notice a dispute developing inside their team if they have a practice of disregarding conflict. Exploring how these triggers can ignite conflict is made possible by having a better understanding of them.




There is no reason for every tourist to anticipate the same experience just because one ABC reviewer complained that the check-in employees were aloof. Making assumptions during a fight can be very detrimental. A team member may think that this will happen again if they receive feedback for questioning management. Then, they may either choose to remain silent and experience frustration, or they may choose to express their viewpoint while anticipating the same unfavorable reaction.

Focusing on the potential underlying assumptions will help you overcome this. A trustworthy friend or coworker might be approached to speak things through with you in order to get perspective. A person who is not directly involved in the issue may be in a good position to identify misconceptions, provide a challenge, and highlight blind spots. They could inquire about past team meetings or wonder whether there were any other possible explanations for the manager’s behavior.




Conflict is difficult to manage in part because people tend to block up when threatened, which is a natural response. In order to combat the propensity to withdraw, one must make an effort to comprehend the other parties to a dispute. Paying close attention is a smart method to approach this. Pay attention to how people communicate in conversation, both orally and non-verbally, and keep your attention on the now rather than allowing the past to obscure the present. In addition to observation, asking questions can be instructive. Ask people how they are and what their current situation is. That might indicate a wide range of additional stressors on their behavior and cognition. In the event that something stated has upset you, let the other person know and ask for their opinion. This could pave the path for a better comprehension.




Conflict management is like traveling. Planning, understanding why some routes feel uncomfortable, and sometimes venturing into unfamiliar territory. Whatever the location, it’s crucial to be aware of the luggage being carried, carefully choose what to pack, and dispose of any unnecessary bags.


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