Six Steps for Wiping Out Negativity and Conflict

The best agencies cultivate a culture of communication and ownership of disputes.
February 14, 2019

“If Patty gets to diffuse her eucalyptus oil, I should be able to diffuse my peppermint oil.”

“Why can George wear headphones but I can’t listen to the radio at a reasonable level?”

“You changed the birthday recognition plan right before MY birthday!”

Bickering and backstabbing. Sound familiar? As a busy manager, do you overlook this behavior because the work is getting done? All we can say is… don’t.

Unresolved conflict snowballs into bigger problems. Think low morale and reduced productivity. Resolution often feels impossible, but it’s not. Here’s an example:

As agency office manager, Patty’s ability to take decisive action is an asset. But, her attention on the big picture means she glosses over details when communicating with the staff. This creates confusion for Anne, the receptionist. As the liaison between clients and the agency, Anne needs structure and precision. Gaps in Anne’s knowledge frustrate her.

Whether the conflict is large or small, here are six easy steps to resolve the problem:

  • Clarify the disagreement.
  • Establish a common goal for both parties.
  • Discuss ways to meet the common goal.
  • Determine the barriers to the common goal.
  • Agree on the action steps for each party.
  • Hold each other accountable.

These are great steps, but the deeper you go into the roots of a conflict, the better the solution will be. Knowing the personality traits of the people involved facilitates these steps.

Patty, knowing Anne, needs to provide detailed materials on front desk procedures. Anne, knowing Patty, needs to ask follow-up questions right away if something isn’t clear. Understanding the underlying reason for a disagreement makes it easier to see the common goals and barriers. And this makes it easier to resolve the problem.

The best agencies cultivate a culture of communication and ownership of disputes. Empower your people to discuss conflicts with each other and come up with workable solutions.

It’s okay if your agency is finding its way through internal conflicts; we are strengthened by working through our adversity. But for goodness sake, don’t change the birthday celebrations mid-year!

Register to learn how toWipe Out Negativity and Conflict in the Workplace during a free PIA member webinar on February 20 at 2 PM ET.


Carletta Clyatt, SVP, The Omnia Group, Inc.  Carletta Clyatt, a popular seminar speaker, is the SVP at The Omnia Group. For more information about employee behavioral assessments, call Carletta at 813-280-3026 or email:

Navigate in this section: