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How to Understand the Stages of Conflict | Video

How to Understand the Stages of Conflict | Video

In an earlier video, we looked at the Sources of Conflict. In this video, we will focus on the stages of conflict.

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

The sources of conflict were many and complex.

They often boil down to:

  • Needs
    Need drives us to satisfy need. We are prepared to do what it takes Conflict arises when getting what we need takes something away from others
  • Rights
    We also get into conflict to protect perceived rights. Conflict arises when this impinges on others’ rights
  • Fears
    Fear is the strongest emotion Conflict arises when fear drives us to try to take something away from or impinge on the rights of others
  • Respect
    Respect is a vital social glue that holds together our self-confidence and our relationships. Conflict arises when we do not show equal respect for ourselves and others.

The Stages of Conflict

We can describe the stages of conflict with the ‘conflict boomerang’. One side of the conflict boomerang:

  • Accord
  • Irritation
  • Resistance
  • Anger
  • Abuse
  • …violence

The Signs of Rising Tension

  • Posture
    • Lean away to ease discomfort
    • Or lean in for conflict
  • Gesture
    • Face touching and eye blocking/rubbing = disagreement or disbelief
    • Furrowed brow – stress. Touching it indicates struggling with idea
    • Neck touching – collar or necklace
    • Hand rubbing, wrist wringing
    • Body hug and palm cleansing/thigh stroking – anxiety

De-Escalation Process: Seven Stages of Conflict De-escalation

Demonstrate Respect

1. Make the choice to engage positively

2. Make contact Build


3. Appreciate the courage the other person is showing Demonstrate empathy and show you understand their position

4. Understand each other’s points of view Share facts, feelings, perspectives, concerns and definitions to build rapport


5. Agree criteria for a resolution what are your respective absolute requirements and desired outcomes?


6. Explore options and possible solutions


7. Offer a resolution Come to a decision and agree next steps

Dealing with Conflict in Projects

We have a full video program: ‘Dealing with Conflict in Projects’. Learn more about the course and get a 30% discount off the standard $47 price.

Dealing with Conflict in Projects

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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