Demand ownership in conflict resolution


Conflict can be positive and part of effective collaboration if dealt with in time. You can expect people to solve their own conflicts before they escalate.


Avoid the escalation of too many conflicts by demanding people follow a simple process when they disagree or feel their frustration growing.


The simple process goes as follows:

When people disagree or feel that they differ significantly they must take the initiative to sit down together and try to resolve their differences (see tool card on conflict resolution).

If this is not successful they must then decide together to ask a third, trusted colleague to mediate/facilitate.

If this also fails they must then ask a few colleagues to form a committee to mediate the dispute.

Finally, if this doesn’t lead to a resolution the disputing parties come to you as a leader. 

If this also doesn’t help and the disagreement is big and important then external facilitation will probably be necessary.


When conflicts are not tackled and risk becoming bigger in the undercurrent or when they are always escalated and brought to you as a leader.

Skills and necessary training

Training in mediation.

Critical success factor

The willingness to resolve a conflict.

The fact that people are made accountable for resolving their conflicts (this is not a choice but a necessity) and for following the process.

Possible workshop exercise

Use the conflict resolution tool card to solve a conflict.