top of page
  • Barb Bickford

How can conflict be healthy? (Part 2 of 2)

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

What can we do to shift from unhealthy conflict to healthy conflict?

I asked the participants of the course “Open Minds: Learn, Work and Achieve More Together” what they thought.

Here's what they came up with:

  • Be a role model

  • Prepare for conversations and be mindful of intention

  • Excuse ourselves until we are more calm

  • Disengage when necessary

  • Use Liberating Structures with groups to empower everyone

  • Go with a spirit of curiosity and adventure

  • Practice self-awareness and pause when triggered

  • Notice when we dehumanize the other person

  • Let others know we care about they have to say

  • Practice dialogue

  • Ask for support to stay regulated

  • Move away from right/wrong thinking

  • Notice the language of judgment

  • Vocalize a desire for understanding

  • Take deep breaths

  • Make eye contact

  • See the other person’s humanity

  • Be curious about the person’s needs

  • Listen openly and with curiosity

  • Listen to understand, not to respond

  • Be willing to adjust our opinion or behavior when we can

  • Maintain respect for the other person even when things are difficult

  • Refuse to listen to or cooperate with the “conflict entrepreneurs”

  • Avoid doing anything that would publicly embarrass anyone

  • Intervene on our own binary thinking and enlarging our “us” to include “them”

  • De-normalize violence by saying “it is never OK to be violent” when we witness violence or threats

Heaven knows, this kind of shift is not easy. I know very few people who are good at it! But we have to start somewhere, and we must start with ourselves. We can:

  • Watch for signs of unhealthy conflict that might lead to violence (see part 1 of 2).

  • Recognize that there ARE things we can do to shift unhealthy to healthy conflict.

  • Chose to practice and develop habits that can help de-escalate unhealthy conflicts.

What new habit for shifting conflict will you practice today?


If you want to be notified about new articles and more, sign up for our news emails.

Photo Credit: CherryDeck on Unsplash

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page