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Conflict at work: How we can change our perspective to become better leaders

Telfer event aims to reposition the way we approach conflict

Two businessmen boxing
Two businessmen boxing

Conflict, whether at home or at work, can be a huge barrier to getting things done. When heads butt and tempers flare, it can bring even the best thought-out project to a grinding halt. Conflict can drive away top talent and erode morale, much to the detriment of the organization in question.

But what if we rethought our approach to conflict in the workplace?

On Jan. 27, the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management will explore this topic at its annual leadership development conference.

The full-morning event will feature three professionals with direct experience managing conflict, who will share their thoughts on this topic from their unique perspectives. These will be followed by a panel discussion, where the audience will be allowed to ask questions.

The panel will be moderated by Richard Clayman, the School’s Executive-in-Residence.

The ultimate goal of the event is to look at conflict from a fresh perspective as a way to develop better tools and behaviours for handling it.

As Clayman explains, the events content will explore the many faces that conflict presents by itself between individuals and within organizations.

Conflict at work 

The annual event has been very well attended in the past, and Clayman expects this year to be no exception. He believes the event should be of interest to anyone who is in a working role where the effective management of conflict would be of value.

“Conflict, at its basic nature, can be a very healthy exchange of perspectives and ideas,” says Clayman. “But on the other hand, it can also start to erode the good relationships that exist within organizations to a point where it becomes a toxic environment.”

Low-level conflict is an unavoidable part of most workplaces. However, Clayman believes it’s possible to identify it early on and turn potentially negative experiences into constructive exchanges.

“Conflict crosses all boundaries because it’s just a fact of human nature,” says Clayman. “We’re trying to have a better look at it and provide some tactics to a better perspective on it.”

The dangers of ignoring conflict management: Should we agree to disagree? takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the University of Ottawa in the Desmarais Building (DMS 1160), located at 55 Laurier Ave. East. This event is open to the public and is free to attend. Please register before 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26. Register to attend at mbaconferences.

Who are the speakers?

Nabil Oudeh

President and Founder, Centre for Conflict Resolution International Ltd (CCR International)

Corey Robertson

Sergeant, Crisis Negotiation Team, The Ottawa Police Service

Dr. Philippe Dufort

Assistant Professor, Saint Paul University