How To Deal With Being Conflict-Averse in the Workplace

Leadership behavior is intricately linked with identity. Many leaders identify with being nice. If you replace the word nice with the words cordial or even-tempered, those terms define an identity that is determined by likeability. The only issue arises when a manager chooses to be liked over being respected. Instead of starting a conversation that might elicit resentment or other unsettling emotions, that leader merely nods in agreement, placates, or rearranges the chess pieces to make up for the drama.

Recently, a client confided in me, “I just had a conversation as you suggested, but it wasn’t good. Her philosophy was that the conversation must have been unpleasant if the employee became irate, hurt, or offended. I told her, “Not necessarily. When the behavior changes, that is a sign of a fruitful conversation.

Taking employee behaviors personally leads to strong emotions. A high-ranking official contacted her and inquired about whether she should simply lower her standards for underperformers. Her problem was that she was attempting to be less judgmental and critical. Some of her employees, in her opinion, simply weren’t goal-oriented. The problem wasn’t her anger, it was her assumptions.

The key: Think like a consultant and question assumptions. To identify the root of the problem, you must pay attention to the justifications (or justifications) an employee provides. It is the manager’s responsibility to provide coaching or assistance if the issue is one of clarity, priority, or resources. If there is a skill shortage, there may be a training problem or a problem with the hiring process. You can fix every problem except for willingness.

Avoidance and aggression are now easier than ever thanks to email and texting. Today, a lot of leaders choose to avoid direct, face-to-face confrontation with a crucial issue by hiding behind the security of email. (I’ve been horrified by the texts and emails I’ve seen being exchanged between coworkers and business partners. ).

Conflict Avoidance and Associated Problems

Challenges of being conflict-averse

Being conflict-averse can assist you in avoiding pointless conflicts and upholding a calm workplace atmosphere, but it can also have disadvantages. Even though those who avoid conflict do so with good intentions, doing so can lead to problems down the road. Some of the primary challenges of being conflict-averse are:

What does it mean to be conflict-averse?

If you tend to avoid conflicts and prefer not to address problems head-on, you are conflict-averse. Conflict-averse individuals make a concerted effort to stay out of situations that could potentially result in conflicts. Conflict-averse people may find it challenging to address the root of issues when they do occur. People who avoid conflict can employ a variety of techniques to minimize, ignore, or avoid conflict:

Reflecting on any conflict-avoidance tendencies you may have can be useful for developing more advantageous problem-solving techniques.

Tips for overcoming conflict aversion

By putting these suggestions into practice, you can start altering your behavior and gaining confidence if you have a conflict-averse personality:

Imagine positive outcomes

Many people who avoid conflict have a tendency to imagine all the negative outcomes that might occur if they bring up or engage in a conflict. When you catch yourself imagining unfavorable outcomes for a conversation, deliberately consider what would occur if the conversation went well. By assuming everything will work out, you can reduce tension and anxiety. Positivity reduces the influence of potential negative outcomes and can make resolving the conflict less intimidating.

Identify shared goals

Conflict-averse individuals find it challenging to engage in confrontation because they anticipate that it will have a negative effect on others. Consider carefully how your perspective might be advantageous to the other parties involved in the dispute. It may be simpler for you to see the conflict as a necessary, constructive step toward more effective communication if you can pinpoint your shared goals with the other party.

For instance, you might be concerned that bringing up the issue will enrage a coworker who frequently enters your office without knocking or making an appointment. Remember that speaking with your coworker establishes healthy boundaries and demonstrates to them that you value them enough to be honest.

Practice expressing your desired solution

By preparing your response in advance and thinking about your ideal resolution, you can approach conflicts with greater confidence. You may feel more at ease broaching the subject if you have a clear idea in your head and know what you want to happen. Approaching others with a plan for resolving the issue demonstrates your willingness to cooperate with others to improve the situation.

Speak up for yourself in a safe environment first

When you’re used to avoiding conflict in your daily life, it can be stressful to suddenly get involved in conflict at work. Instead of attempting to become confrontational overnight, try honing your conflict resolution techniques in low-stress scenarios first. For instance, rather than immediately altering your plans if your friend suggests getting sandwiches instead of pizza for lunch, invite them along instead. Practicing conflict resolution in this small way can help you feel more at ease speaking up for yourself when dealing with bigger issues.

Schedule time for discussion

Start by setting aside time with others to discuss a conflict because speaking up in the heat of the moment can be particularly difficult for conflict-averse people. When someone raises an idea during a meeting that you find objectionable, ask the group if a follow-up meeting can be scheduled to discuss it. This allows you to gather your thoughts and guarantees that no one will be taken by surprise when you bring up the conflict.


What does conflict averse mean?

If you tend to avoid conflicts and prefer not to address problems head-on, you are conflict-averse. Conflict-averse individuals make a concerted effort to stay out of situations that could potentially result in conflicts.

What do u call someone who avoids conflict?

pacifist Add to list Share. A pacifist is someone who opposes using violence or war to resolve conflicts. If you’re pacifistic, you resolve conflicts through dialogue rather than violence.

How does an avoidant deal with conflict?

At the first sign of conflict, someone with an avoidant attachment is quick to distance themselves from the situation and may perceive someone attempting to address a problem with them as being “needy” or “pushy.” “I didn’t really care that much for them, and I’m better off,” a person with this attachment style may tell themselves.

What is avoidance conflict style?

When you don’t address your concerns or the concerns of the other person, you are using the avoidance style. This style is low assertiveness and low cooperativeness. The goal is to delay. When there are minor issues, to ease tensions, or to buy time, it is appropriate to use this style.

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