WorkTraits: Identity and Conflict Resolution Pt. 2

By Mark Vickers, Ph.D.


As you can imagine, emotions became inflamed and in some instances paralyzed the manager. When emotions were at their worst, the manager and owner would argue in front of customers. Morale was low for the rest of the staff and the owner was at  loss for what to do.

They began to work through the conflict by first making clear who had authority for specific tasks. They needed to make clear their identity within the business. At first this worked, but as time passed it was evident that neither wanted to share authority with one another and it devolved into arguments again.

Then a very unexpected, but healthy thing happened. The manager quit. She realized that the identity she most wanted could never take place in this business. It allowed her to find another position and think more carefully about her future. Both the owner and manager parted ways amicably. This also served as an opportunity for the owner to do some needed self examination as well.

Sometimes resolving conflict takes us to unexpected places. In the case of the owner and manager, the conflict served to bring clarity to what both wanted. And though this was a non traditional method for resolving conflict, it turned out that parting ways was both best and beneficial to both individuals. Conflict often brings positive change and forces us to think about what we really want and who we really want to become.


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