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What Gives Conflict a Bad Name?

Posted on Jun 12 2012 under Conflict Resolution, Previous Programs

Differences and disagreements – we deal with them all the time.  They are conflicts, though we don’t bother to label them as such.  We listen and consider, we build solutions, we problem solve, and then we move on.   Other times, something snaps – and we suddenly find ourselves standing in the middle of an ugly mess, arguing perhaps, or getting out of the room as quickly as possible.  In this segment of the Texas Conflict Coach, we’ll consider what turns a simple disagreement into a conflict, and strategies to keep conflict at the lowest possible level.


Susan Shearouse has over twenty years experience helping people resolve their differences. Her expertise is in improving working relationships, creating a safe place for thorny conversations, managing strong emotions, and providing collaborative problem-solving processes.  Susan often explains that she earned a life degree in conflict – on the job, at home and in her community.  After completing a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution from George Mason University, she has applied her academic knowledge to real world challenges inside government agencies, and major corporations as well as small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Based on her experience, she recently authored Conflict 101: A Manager’s Guide to Resolving Problems So Everyone Can Get Back to Work, published by AMACOM (a division of the American Management Association).

To learn more about Susan Shearouse, Frameworks for Agreement 

Assignment for the Week:

Listeners take time to observe the simple disagreements you have with others this week. Think about and write down the strategies you are using to deal with these disagreements. Also, note what level your disagreement has risen to…is it raised to a level of a contest of wills, a full blown fight, or an intractable conflict. Where could you have used help and what different strategies could you have employed as the conflict worsened.


4 Replies to “What Gives Conflict a Bad Name?”

  1. Thanks Pattie and Susan,
    I finally had a chance to listen to this great podcast.
    Susan, I am a business communication coach who Pattie knows.
    Your comments will be helpful with my business clients and in my personal life. I know too many folks who escalate the level of conflict quickly. Any suggestions for dealing with quick trigger folks.
    Also, even at the lower levels of conflict, I note that some folks make the disagreement seem more threatening with negative tone and body language like pointing or scowling.
    Laurie Schloff

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