Conflict is unavoidable, in life and at work. At some point in your career, you’ll disagree with a coworker about something that’s important to both of you, and find yourself trying to resolve the situation so that everyone wins. (Or …
Why do even rational people get embroiled in conflicts they can't solve? The root cause, says Daniel Shapiro, founder and director of the Harvard International Negotiation Program, is an adversarial mindset called the Tribes Effect, in which conflicts turn into "me versus you, us versus them."
"People think, 'Let's just be rational and we can resolve our differences, we can resolve our conflict,'" Shapiro says. "Not true. Unless you deal with the core psychology to the conflict, the mindset that's driving you and the other side in the conflict, unless you deal with that, the conflict will persist."
Everyone knows that person at the office, the one who loves conflict: he's the one who's always butting heads with everyone, engaging people from the CEO to the summer intern on everything from the quarterly report to the outcome of last week's game. And then there's you -- the nice guy. The problem is, if you're too nice to deal with conflict at all, people are going to get Mr. Blowhard's perspective a lot more than they get yours.