Managing Conflict

The Virtual Leadership Conference continued day-two as attendees heard from Alexis Gladstone of Chatfield Global on a timeless topic: “Managing Conflict.” This session was sponsored by HBS Systems, who is celebrating 32 years of bringing affordable, leading-edge systems technology to the equipment dealer industry. 

Gladstone’presentation rundown was centered on five crucial topics: 

  • Cost of Conflict 
  • Types of Conflict 
  • How to Recognize Conflict 
  • Conflict Management Styles 
  • Actions to Manage Conflict 

Gladstone began with a poll of our attendees where our attendees were asked “How much time do you think you spend each week dealing with conflict?” Here are the results: 

  1. 1-2 hours (39%) 
  2. 3-4 hours (37%) 
  3. 5 or more hours (24%) 

Here, attendees gained insight into the adverse effects a company might see by ignoring any consistent conflict that they may be facing. Some key costs that companies consistently face, Gladstone claims, include wasted time, grievances and complaints, employee turnover, poor decision making and absenteeism. 

Next, our 200+ session attendees were given insight into the two types of conflict that our speaker has become quite familiar with: destructive conflict and constructive conflict. A crucial distinction made here was how important constructive conflict could be for accomplishing more in your company, overall leading to better decision making. 

Gladstone went on to go into detail on what truly leads to conflict in the workplace. An interesting point that she raised was that “People don’t have to be friends at work, they have to be respectful. This leads to people being more open to discuss issues and hear each other, making the company more productive and profitable.” The takeaways from this section were genuinely eye-opening and we anticipate attendees will find success in future conflict resolution as a result. 

Furthermore, Gladstone noted the importance of management styles in relation to handling conflict. This section covered traditional methods of conflict management and why some might be beneficial over others. For example, attendees were given thoughtprovoking points on the trade-off between assertiveness and cooperativeness. 

Gladstone’s final poll asked attendees “Which style do you think is your natural style?” Here are the results: 

  1. Competing (7%) 
  2. Collaborating (50%) 
  3. Compromising (30%) 
  4. Avoiding (4%) 
  5. Accommodating (9%)  

Gladstone closed out her presentation with four steps on how to “help resolve conflict”: 

  1. Clarify the Issue 
  2. Generate Options 
  3. Choose a Solution 
  4. Commit to Action 

We anticipate that Gladstone’s information will have an immense impact on conflict resolution and how our attendees will manage in the near future. 


1. Do you predict a rise in conflict from remote work? 

Answer: Conflict from working remotely might be different types of conflict and often inadvertent. This can rise especially with delays and not getting the information you need to do your job. It might not be the same conflict because it may look differently. 

2. Is it recommended to talk to individuals in a conflict with multiple people? 

Answer: If it’s heated conflict, then yes. You might want to start to get that initial information from the individuals to clarify the issue. But, if it’s a conflict where you have two people or more, you may not want to get involved too early. 


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