Always be respectful of the other person’s views, culture, and feedback. Listen carefully and empathetically and communicate your thoughts respectfully. Avoiding or ignoring conflict won’t resolve the issue, and being closed-minded will get you nowhere—in business or in life. Clear, honest, and respectful communication is key to understanding the situation and moving forward in a positive direction. In other words, artificial harmony at one extreme and personal attacks at the other aren’t respectful behaviors, even though one is passive and the other is aggressive.


In mitigating conflict, don’t discuss your issue with other employees; this breaks the trust between you and the other person. In sports, you choose the strongest coaches, doctors, and trainers to be on your team. You trust them to train you and tend to your injuries. If they turned to your opponent and discussed your strengths and weaknesses, it would break your trust. Instead, build trust among your team by facing conflict directly and communicating effectively and appropriately.


At the end of the day, you must realize that you’re all on the same team, working toward the same goal. The best way to turn conflict into positive outcomes is by dealing with it professionally, accepting constructive criticism, and working together to ensure that future challenges can be rectified. This is what embracing a culture of challenge is all about: respect, trust, and a focus on outcomes that enrich your organization in serving its mission.

Now that you can manage conflict effectively as a leader, empower your team to succeed by encouraging innovation, constant feedback, and constructive contention. Conflict will always arise in ever-changing business environments like the management accounting profession. But dealing with conflict head on and with respect will push your organization ahead of the competition.

Read more:

Managing Entitled Employees

Strategic Finance

Fierce Conversations

by Susan Scott

About the Authors