The Exchange: Four Tips for Having Conflict-Busting Conversations in the Workplace

A long-time consultant is offended by something a new salesperson said on a conference call and is threatening to leave. And an employee in marketing is furious about being passed over for a promotion in favor of her coworker and is trying to discredit her. These are just a couple of examples of the workplace conflicts that take up 42 percent of the typical manager’s time. The trick to moving past these conflicts and on to increased productivity for everyone at your organization is knowing how to broach the topics in a way that leads to improved working relationships.

Disagreements, disputes, and honest differences are normal in any workplace. When these normal occurrences are treated as opportunities for exploring new ideas about projects, they can become catalysts for increased energy and productivity. Getting to that place starts with an honest discussion.

The following tips – excerpted from The Exchange – will teach you how to turn your next meeting with conflicting employees into a productive conversation.

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About the Authors

Steven P. Dinkin is president of NCRC. He received his law degree from George Washington University, where he taught a mediation clinic as an adjunct law professor. He has also taught mediation courses in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. For several years with the Center for Dispute Settlement in Washington, D.C., Steve served as an employment and workplace mediator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other federal agencies. In 2003, he moved to San Diego to lead NCRC. His experience managing a talented and opinionated staff has contributed to the realism of this book. To read Steven Dinkin’s complete biography, click here.

Barbara Filner was the director of training for NCRC from 1984-2010. She currently works as a consultant for NCRC. Barbara has a master’s degree in teaching from Indiana University and has worked as a teacher, a labor union official, and an analyst in local and state government. She has designed and conducted workshops on mediation and conflict resolution in the workplace in both the United States and Europe. She has lived in Pakistan, India, and Egypt, and thus brings a multicultural perspective to this book. She has also co-written two books about culture and conflict, Conflict Resolution Across Cultures and Mediation Across Cultures. To read Barbara Filner’s complete biography, click here.

Lisa Maxwell is currently the director of the training institute at NCRC. She has traveled all over the world as a trainer for NCRC for almost 20 years. Lisa has a master’s degree in education from San Diego State University and has developed curricula and taught courses at the high school and university levels. Mrs. Maxwell developed and is the lead trainer in The Exchange Training. Lisa has worked with businesses, with the military, and with nonprofit organizations on finding creative, effective ways to manage conflicts. To read Lisa Maxwell’s complete biography, click here.

To learn more about the NCRC, or to attend one of its upcoming training sessions, visit its Web site,