Should Conflict Resolution Skills Training be Mandatory?


I was recently asked by a workshop participant if I thought it was okay to make Conflict Resolution Skills training mandatory for everyone at their organization. My simple answer was, “Yes, I think that is a good idea.” However, that answer really needed to be more nuanced because it implies some other questions such as: • Is there a benefit … Read More

How Conflict Escalates & Strategies to Prevent Disaster

Josh Hay

couple fighting

Conflict is so predictable, and I believe that is what scares us most about it. We have seen conflict quickly develop into an ugly mess. We see this in the media, and we have probably experienced it in our personal lives as well. The good news is that conflict doesn’t always have to escalate negatively. When we understand how it … Read More

The Hidden Costs of Unmanaged Conflict

Josh Hay

gossiping at work

We often think of conflict as negative – something that is bad that needs to be avoided. At ACHIEVE, we believe that conflict has the potential to be positive, that something good can result from it, and that it is crucial to have the right tools to engage well with each other in the midst of conflict. We, however, are … Read More

6 Steps for Constructive Conflict Resolution

Josh Hay

man yelling into megaphone at woman

As humans, we are wired wrong. It seems we are not naturally inclined to work through conflict adeptly. We quickly perceive and respond to conflict as a threat. Our natural tendency is to either look for an escape route from the perceived danger (flight), or respond with retaliation to save ourselves (fight) – both responses are not helpful. It seems … Read More

Direct Talk About Passive-Aggression

Josh Hay

Passive-aggressiveness is one of the most frustrating behaviours we face in our colleagues or clients.  I believe that when we fail to address this behaviour, it creates big problems. So let us be clear about what passive-aggressive behaviour does: It undermines and sabotages our relationships. Ultimately it inhibits our organization’s ability to achieve its purpose.  Passive-aggressiveness should never be tolerated … Read More

Confronting Constructively: 4 Tips

Josh Hay

In the social sciences, researchers determine the true impact of variable things by changing one variable and keeping everything else the same, then observing the result. I experienced something similar recently when I was confronted by two very real people on the same day. I’ll call them Albert and Ziggy. It was like a science experiment in that the situations … Read More

3 Reasons To Confront Your Co-Worker

Josh Hay

two people confronting each other

If your workplace is like most, people are too avoidant when it comes to conflict – even those who are more direct in their personal lives. That’s what Ralph Kilman, co-author of the world-renowned Thomas-Kilman Conflict Styles Inventory, found in a recent cross-organizational study. Too much avoidance means issues are swept under the carpet, contrary information is not shared, relational … Read More

6 Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Person

Josh Hay

When I started teaching conflict resolution skills many years ago, I believed that simply using those skills would solve most problems. I was naïve. People kept coming to me and saying something like, “Eric, these skills are great, but what do you do about the person who is just DIFFICULT?” After some years of experience, I realized that they were … Read More

3 Ways to Avoid Conflict and Improve Relationships

Josh Hay

Conflict Resolution on Napkin

“I wonder what’s it like to be married to you…” I turned. The workshop participant was behind me, to the side, looking thoughtful, pensive, and curious. It wasn’t a pick-up, but a pondering. I have taught conflict resolution skills for 20 years and it’s a question I occasionally get asked. While all my training is workplace-related, the application in the … Read More

5 Steps for Effective Conflict Resolution

Josh Hay

Conflict is opportunity.  Although many of us find conflict stressful, conflict has many benefits. As a mediator, I have witnessed the strong emotions produced by conflict.  I have also seen how conflict dealt with in a healthy way can enhance our problem-solving capabilities, increase productive communication, promote self-awareness and build relationships.  When we avoid conflict or become confrontational or aggressive, … Read More