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Comparing Conflict Avoidance and Conflict Resolution.

Updated: Mar 27

All teams encounter disagreement or conflict. It’s part of being human and working and interacting with other people.

Team Conflict - There is a difference between conflict avoidance and conflict resolution
Teamwork - A Social Media Series of The Nexus Initiative

Here’s a posture to keep in your back pocket.

Understand it.

Learn from it.

Anticipate it.

Manage it.

Expect it.

Because conflict is universal, it’s important for teams to talk about how they will handle conflict when it arises because it will.

Comparing Conflict Avoidance and Conflict Resolution

Just to say it. Avoiding verbal disagreement or conflict is NOT a form of conflict resolution. It is a form of conflict avoidance or conflict denial.

So, when it comes to team conflict and comparing conflict avoidance versus conflict resolution, you find that only one truly resolves the conflict. And the one that does in conflict resolution.

When conflict avoidance or denial happens, the disagreement is still alive and well; what’s changed is that expression of it has moved from the verbal realm to the non-verbal realm.

You know the transition has occurred when you start to see non-verbal behaviors such as:

- Not responding to emails in a timely manner

- Not including team members in meetings they should be involved with.

- Lack of eye contact

- Etc.

Each of these behaviors can be nonverbal cues of conveying, “I’m upset at you and want to convey that to you, but I don’t want to do it verbally, so I’m going to do it non-verbally.”

The lack of willingness to discuss it verbally can be due to factors such as:

- Fear of reactivity of one or both parties - not safe to tell them.

- Worry that discussing it could make the situation worse.

- Undeveloped ability to constructively express one’s needs.

- Undeveloped capacity to constructively hear feedback about oneself.


If you believe verbally discussing disagreements necessitates a negative or destructive experience. It does not have to mean that.

There are methods of constructive conflict resolution for situations where all parties are willing and for situations where some parties are willing.

Teamwork Social Media Series

The Teamwork Social Media Series from The Nexus Initiative focuses on the “work” of making teams work better together. Teams that do the “work” of building teamwork provide a competitive advantage for their companies.

About The Nexus Initiative

The Nexus Initiative is a boutique Executive Coaching and Advisory firm based on real-world operating experience. If you know someone looking for a trusted confidant with real-world operating experience to be their coach, please refer them to my website to setup a discovery call.

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