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View Resolving Group Conflict

Resolving Group Conflict

Copyright © 2004 by Don Blohowiak |

Anytime two or more people work together, there’s going to be conflict: from meaningful and constructive differences of opinion, to petty power plays and interpersonal chafing.

When conflict becomes too intense to either ignore or work out through the goodwill of group members, a more formal approach is required.

Here is a simple framework for resolving group conflict that you can use to provide a structure for a positive, productive resolution.

Prepare a handout with the following seven statements.
1. The issue, put concisely, is…
Get everyone’s unique viewpoint.

2. This is significant because…
Identifying the consequences draws attention to the import of resolving the issue and helps to draw conflict deniers and avoiders into a process they would otherwise never confront.

3. About this situation, I personally feel…
Giving personal feelings a direct voice brings them out into the open. That’s much healthier than keeping them repressed—they’ll eventually explode out anyway.

4. My part in creating this situation was…
Everyone played a part in the situation. Some instigated. Some allowed themselves to get drawn in. Some helped to perpetuate it by pretending not to see a problem. Some were oblivious—not paying adequate attention. Everyone contributed to the problem somewhere between 1 and 99 percent.

5. What I’d like to see as the outcome…
Use the power of visualizing a positive end-state to generate commitment and energy to the process of getting past this conflict and onto a better future.

6. As a group, we need to…
All groups function in accord with norms and values. Make yours both positive and explicit so that people know the expectations and can commit to abiding by them.

7. I’m personally willing to…
Everyone must be part of the solution. When each individual makes a commitment to their group peers to be personally accountable, the group likely will make real and sustained progress.

Assemble the group and give a copy of the handout to everyone. Instruct them to print their responses to each statement—without identifying themselves.

Once everyone has completed their answers, collect, shuffle and redistribute the sheets. Everyone should now have a piece of paper with statements completed by someone else.

Each person in the group should read the response on their sheet to Statement 1. Then move on and hear all the responses to Statement 2. The idea is for each person to read aloud the answers that were completed by one of their—anonymous—teammates.

After all the points of view have been aired, have a robust discussion. Chances are, getting all the viewpoints into the open will bring perspective to the issue and help to speed its resolution.

Let us know how we can assist.

Lead Well® helps organizations to improve measurable results by developing their current and future leaders. For more information, please contact us. By phone, toll-free in the USA: 1-888-LeadWell (532-3935), or 1-609-716-9490. By email,

REPUBLICATION: Permission is granted for publishing this article in periodicals provided that you:
1) Notify us ( and

2) Include the following attribution statement:

Don Blohowiak, a management consultant and popular conference speaker, is the author of several business books. The executive director of the Lead Well® Institute in Princeton, NJ, he may be reached at

SELLING this material requires our written permission.

TRADEMARKS: “Lead Well” and “Natural Selection” are registered trademarks, and “Lead by Design” is a trademark, owned by Don Blohowiak, Lead Well Institute.
Copyright © 2005, Don Blohowiak, Lead Well Institute
~ All Rights Reserved ~

Category:Phase 1 - Launch Team Development