How to Prevent Conflict: Introduction

04.09.2020 |

Episode #9 of the course Confident conflict management by Martin Probst


Welcome back.

Yesterday, you learned how to structure conversations and thus provide you with the confidence of a positive outcome. Today, I will introduce you to the steps of how you can prevent unnecessary conflict.

There are a number of tactics to minimize exposure to difficult conversations and sticky situations. Let’s go through them together.

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” —Ronald Reagan


Set a Positive Example

You are an influential person and play an important part in your environment, be it in a professional capacity or among family and friends. Setting a positive example includes professionally and maturely abiding to ground rules, and therefore condemn and sanction anybody breaking those rules, regardless of the nature of the dispute. Ground rules might include professional demeanor, use of appropriate language, good communication style, honesty, etc.


Get to Know People

You can take steps to minimize conflict situations by developing good relationships and getting to know people. We all have different needs and priorities and come from a multitude of cultural backgrounds. Even though nothing should ever be assumed during conflict situations, knowing a little about one another will do a long way towards pre-empting sticky situations.



As I mentioned several times during this course, it is very important to follow-up with all involved parties. If we do not hear back or don’t see the same conflict openly arise, is not necessarily an indication that everything is resolved, and people are happy. It is vital to maintain the conversation and build strong relationships for the future.


Pick Your Battles

If the conflict situation is a reoccurring one that you know cannot be resolved, it might be best to avoid the conflict. For example, if the disagreement is of political nature and you know that bringing up the issue has no potential benefits, simply let it go. This can be difficult, but it may be more beneficial to let it go in the long run for the benefit of your mental and emotional well-being. If the person brings up the topic once again, change the subject. Or tell the person in a calm and respectful manner that you would prefer not to engage in this conversation.


Avoid Troublemakers

People who regularly engage in gossip and backstabbing are bad news. They suck other people into their drama and drag them down. Never believe anything you hear through the grapevine and consider the source of criticism or hurtful comments. You can prevent conflict situations if you shut down rumors and avoid engaging in such conversations.


Move On

When the disagreement is resolved, it is time to move on. Dwelling on past differences does not lead to productive results; in fact, it will only hold everybody back and most likely create new differences and disagreements. Follow the saying “water under the bridge”; so, once disagreement is resolved, everybody needs to let go and move on!


Foster a Motivating Environment

One of the best ways to prevent future conflict is to promote a safe, inclusive, empowering, and motivating environment. If we can tap into people’s desires and needs, and fulfill them in positive ways, we can successfully influence and promote long-lasting change to prevent future conflict. We will go into this specific area in more detail during tomorrow’s lesson.

My top tip for the day: Reflect on how well you usually handle conflict situations. How did you feel reading through the different prevention tactics in today’s lesson? Are there any areas you can improve?

Tomorrow, we will look at why fulfilling people’s needs in positive ways play such a big role in creating a positive and motivating environment.

“Dare to make a difference!”



Recommended reading

The minimalist guide to conflict resolution


Recommended book

The Four Pillars of Conflict Prevention by Emma Jenkings


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