Building skills and confidence for handling all sorts of conflicts begins with you. You can’t change other people. You may not be able to influence the circumstances in which the conflict occurs. What you have control over is your response and depending on what you do or say, you can change the conflict dynamics of the interaction. In effect, you change the dance.

That’s the theme of this blog. This week I offer you several ways–some funny, some practical and some poignant–to think about what this means.

First up is an article I published on the Self Improvement blog.  It’s easy for me to say that what you do or say affects the dynamic of a conflict, it’s another for you to act on it. Part of being able to reliably respond in ways that not only address the dispute but also leave you feeling whole and strong begins with knowing your vulnerabilities and how to protect yourself. When Your Buttons Get Pushed, Hit the OFF Switch shows you how to begin that process.

Next is a piece titled: How To Transform Team Conflict to Creative Problem Solving. If you lead meetings at work, this one’s for you. It offers practical suggestions about how to handle task as well as relationship conflicts.

As a companion to the team conflict article, I thought you might enjoy a humorous look at what happens when team conflicts remain unresolved. So often, work place conflict begins with a small annoyance. Watch how it escalates in this clip from the television show ‘The Office.’

Pay Back is Sweet: The Office

Lest you fear I take myself too seriously, here is another funny bit on team building. I’m quite sure some of the groups I’ve facilitated in the past felt this way sometimes.

Dinosaur Office Team Building

I’ll close with a short clip of Steve Jobs talking about teamwork and collaboration. How a leader responds to disagreement makes a difference in the quality of decisions and innovation she or he can expect.

Steve Jobs on “wonderful arguments.

Go ahead and read or watch any or all of the above–each is short and sweet–and then come back and tell me what you thought.

Have you ever had a leader who invited disagreement and knew how to use it to motivate ideas? Have you ever been in a team building session that felt forced and inauthentic? Do you know what pushes your buttons and why? Do you have funny stories of office pranks?