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For some of us, the title of this paper may appear confusing. How can the words “good” and “conflict” appear together in the same title?

My experience as a mediator and an ombudsperson convinces me that the juxtaposition can indeed be justified. Not only do these two words have the potential to be used in the same sentence, I will go so far as to state that they should be in the same sentence.

Conflict in the workplace or almost anywhere is inevitable. We are human. We make mistakes. We annoy others. We offend others. We may be oblivious to how our behavior impacts others. We make assumptions. We are often not aware of someone’s “hot buttons,” and sometimes lack the necessary diplomacy to adequately address a challenging situation with others. We have feelings. We are emotional. We are insecure about certain matters. We often lack the confidence to address conflict, and we especially may lack the know-how to resolve conflict to a mutually beneficial result.

Yes, conflict has the potential to be disruptive; even destructive. It can easily demotivate, negatively impact the work environment, result in low morale and a toxic environment which can lead to lawsuits, all quite unwelcome outcomes. This paper focuses on how to best utilize conflict to our advantage. The paper provides some practical and easy to understand steps to increase our chances of benefitting from conflict.

This paper will also provide recommendations on how to handle as well as leverage the benefits of conflict using teams.