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Leadership for Today - Managing Conflict Within Groups

Updated December 17, 2018
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Karla Trautman

SDSU Extension Interim Director

The human relationship is a complex and dynamic interaction. As living creatures, we need and crave the opportunity to interact with other humans by speaking, listening, and spending time with them. Most of this interaction tends to be mutual and cordial. Yet, at times, the interaction can be laced with tension and discord. If left alone, the tension can lead to conflict that may damage the relationship or even become volatile.

Conflict between individuals and within groups often occurs because people have differences of opinions, have different values and goals, or received inaccurate information. Conflict is not always a bad thing. In many cases, conflict can lead to a better understanding of and response to issues. Conflict can also lead to creative problem solving and the initiation of innovative ideas. However, if conflict is suppressed and not addressed, it can lead to distrust and greater discord within the group.