RSC Level 2 Module 1: Managing Conflict
Step 1) Overview: Your effectiveness as a manager and a leader is directly related to your skill in managing conflict in the workplace – especially conflict in the teams that you lead or are a part of. How can you prepare yourself to manage conflict? Are there different kinds of conflict that demand different kinds of responses on the part of the leader? Is it always important to avoid or eliminate conflict or are there some kinds of conflict that are constructive and productive? Like leadership skills, conflict management skills can be learned and all of us can become more effective at understanding and managing conflict.
Step 2) Action Learning: Please watch the two videos below.
The following video is a 5-minute segment that introduces you to the different kinds of conflict that you will encounter in work teams. For each category of conflict the video gives you a couple of characteristics that help you identify the type of conflict and then the video suggests the appropriate way to handle that type of conflict and the outcomes that you might expect. If you have never thought about managing conflict in the workplace this video is an effective introduction to different categories of conflict and it gets you started thinking about conflict in your team.
The next video is an 8-minute segment that introduces the idea that conflict can be constructive as well as destructive. As a leader you are responsible for paying careful attention to conflict in your team and you are expected to have the skills to evaluate a conflict situation, make a judgment about the conflict and let it build if you determine that it is productive or intervene if you determine that it is destructive. In all situations, you must be able to evaluate the consequences of your actions and move the team forward. Virtual teams are a feature of the modern workplace that are especially challenging for the management of conflict.
Step 3) Points to Ponder:
1). All of us have a “default mode” when it comes to managing conflict. In other words, based on personality and experience, faced with a conflict situation, each one of us has a natural tendency to react in a predictable way. Ask yourself, “What is my default mode for managing conflict?” Discuss this with colleagues who can give you a validity check on your qualities as a manager of conflict.
2). Have you observed managers in your company managing conflict? Have you observed particular kinds of conflict that are a common occurrence in the workplace? Be prepared to describe some examples of conflict management styles as well as typical conflict situations.
3). Can you identify someone in your company whom you consider an accomplished manager of conflict? Can this person serve as a role model for you? How would you seek out opportunities to learn from his / her experiences?
Step 4) Interactive Discussion: After viewing Videos 1 & 2 and exploring the Points to Ponder check your calendar for the Interactive Discussion scheduled for this Module. Go to the session prepared to discuss the lessons learned with others in your Rising Star cohort. If you have any questions or need more information please send a message to
Step 5) Next Level: (Optional): Read the Reference: “Want Collaboration? Accept – and actively manage – conflict” by Jeff Weiss and Jonathan Hughes, Harvard Business Review March 2005, Reprint R0503F, order from 617-783-7500 or go to