Leading On Management: Everyone Can See the Elephant in the Room

For many of us, dealing with conflict is an awful, no good, terrible thing that should be avoided at all costs. The reality is, conflict left unattended to never goes away on its own.ELEPHANTINROOMKARRIE

Conflict is never just between two parties. There is always a ripple effect, and the longer it goes unresolved, the greater that ripple becomes. Since we are people with differing personalities, backgrounds, and communication styles, it is a given there will always be conflict.

This is what I refer to as “the elephant in the room.” You know what I’m talking about right? Those times when those involved act like everything is fine, even though it’s quite apparent to everyone else all is not fine. The people having the conflict avoid each other like the plague, and when they do have to interact, it’s like a blast from the polar vortex was sent through the work area!

Try these tips to help you redirect conflict into collaborative and productive discussions:

  • Choose to view conflict as neither negative nor positive. Conflict doesn’t have emotions tied to it, good or bad. Conflict simply signifies there are differences of perspective that need to be discussed further.
  • Talk frequently with your staff how conflict can help you explore new possibilities vs. looking for a right or wrong solution.
  • Lead by example to address the elephant in the room right away. Everyone can see it anyway. When your staff sees you are willing to explore someone else’s concerns and ideas, they will be more likely to follow suit.

Instead of avoiding discussions with people who think differently than us, let’s decide to use those differences to make us more effective in our work. It’s the culmination of our differences that makes us uniquely positioned to stand out from our competitors and align more closely with our customers!

Editor’s Note: This post has been republished with permission from Karrie Landsverk

Karrie Landsverk

Karrie Landsverk

Partner, Trainer, and Professional Speaker at American Way University
Karrie Landsverk is a Partner with AmericanWay University, Trainer, and Professional Speaker who brings humor and engagement to any training event or conference. As a professional member of the National Speakers Association, Karrie’s style is dynamic and energetic, captivating her audiences with real-life experiences. She has been a leader in the business world for 16 years, with positions ranging from high-level leadership roles—with a Fortune 500 company—to head of Human Resources for a 20 location independent pharmacy chain. Karrie also served as a school board member for seven years in her district. She has a strong background in leadership, human resources, healthcare, and education. Karrie’s expertise lies in the areas of: Linking Purpose with Action, Communicating with Intention, Purpose, and Clarity, Revealing the Unique Strengths Each Generation Brings to the Organization, and Cultivating Trusting and Collaborative Relationships in the Workplace.
Karrie Landsverk
Karrie Landsverk
Karrie Landsverk



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