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How do you address conflict with a peer you have a great relationship with?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How do you address conflict with a peer you have a great relationship with?

  • Ignore it. Things tend to work themselves out on their own: 15.2%
  • Say something directly and get to the root of it quickly: 82.7%
  • Act passive aggressively in retaliation for the conflict: 2.1%

Get to the issue quickly. The vast majority of you identify and try to resolve issues with peers as quickly as possible. Bravo. Letting something linger won’t necessarily resolve it. Granted, there’s judgment involved in which issues to proactively discuss and resolve and which issues (the small ones) to just let slide in the interest of maintaining a good relationship. If you find you tend to avoid issues and are afraid to give feedback because of the reaction you might receive, try using a fact-based feedback model that focuses on the behavior first and then highlights the emotional impact of the behavior. Starting with facts can reduce the tension and enable you to move forward more quickly. And if you’re passive-aggressively retaliating, stop. It doesn’t help anyone — least of all, you.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”