De-sensitise communication

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means”.

Ronald Reagan

Conflict is inevitable when people are working together. Everyone brings their own values, beliefs, worldview, knowledge and experiences that when mixed can create a melting-pot of ideas.

A trend I have noticed is the inability of some people to focus on the problem, rather than the person. I notice this in many contexts; face-to-face communication, community facebook pages, online news feed comments, and media feedback.

To give an example, here is an extract of feed from a news article in Stuff Oct 26th 2018 “Footpath inspector takes on Hamilton's 1000km of paths with new ride”

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 8.39.08 AM.png

Not only is this discriminatory, the fact that people feel they have the right to share their opinions in such a personalised way is in my view appalling.

As leaders, conflict resolution skills are a must-have. Unresolved conflict often results in a toxic culture, lowered motivation and results, raised absenteeism, the stifling of creativity, and the creation of barriers to cooperation and collaboration. Perhaps most importantly for leaders, good conflict resolution ability equals a good healthy culture and employee retention. Leaders who don’t deal with conflict will eventually watch their good talent walk out the door in search of a healthier and safer work environment.

A key thing to remember when faced with conflict is to:

Focus on the problem; not the person


There are three key strategies you can apply to desensitise a problem:

  1. Prioritise good relationships

  2. Listen from all viewpoints

  3. Seek to understand the facts, then address the problem.

Lastly - take a deep breath and lean into it.