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workplace conflict hidden costs

Avoid the Hidden Costs of Workplace Conflict: How Powerful Phrases Will Help Your Team Thrive

by | May 13, 2024 | By Karin Hurt and David Dye, powerful phrases |

Because work shouldn’t be a drag. And YOUR voice matters.

What’s workplace conflict costing you? If your answer is, “Oh not much, we NEVER have conflict… “

It’s costing you more than you think.

Sidebar on What to Say When You are faced with a difficult workplace and environment as shared in Powerful Phrases

You NEED good conflict to get smarter, more innovative, and to make better decisions.

What you DON’T NEED is the drama and stress of not knowing what to say. Or, the anxiety you feel moments after you’ve said words you regret.

Care-filled words matter. And we’ve spent the last few years researching, crafting, and testing the best ones for you, so you know what to say when work gets wonky.

But before we tell you more about why you should read our new book, Powerful Phrases for Dealing With Workplace Conflict, let’s give you an extra dose of courage to have that conversation you would rather avoid.

Avoiding conflict…

1. Wastes time

When we asked participants in our workplace conflict research and courageous leadership programs to reflect on past conflicts, we heard many tales of wasted time. “I wish I had talked about it, or talked about it sooner.”

Sidebar on What to Say When you are faced with a challenging coworkers and difficult customers as shared in Powerful PhrasesTime wasted…worrying, avoiding, and restlessly flipping the pillow to the cool side. Meanwhile, if nothing changes, nothing changes.

2. Is exhausting

If you’re like so many people in our research, you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Change and uncertainty are exhausting. Clarity is the antidote to uncertainty.  The best way to align on clear expectations is to talk about them, not engage in magical thinking that everyone “should” know.

3. Destroys relationships

You don’t need to sweat the small stuff. Sometimes you need to channel your inner Elsa and “Let it go.”

But, if you avoid the conversation on the big stuff, you’re not doing your relationship any favors. When you refuse to talk about something that matters, you’re sending a signal that you don’t care enough (or trust the relationship enough) to engage in this conversation.

4. Crushes Innovation

Imagine if every time someone had a new idea, they swallowed it because they were scared of a naysayer. That’s your office without conflict. Without the chance to air and share these ideas, your next big breakthrough might be the one that got away. 

Note: If you’ve been following us for a minute, you know we’re all about building cultures where people feel safe and encouraged to share their ideas. Powerful Phrases empowers everyone with the words they need to support your Courageous Culture. 

Sidebar on What to Say If Your Boss is challenging and difficult to work with as shared in the book Powerful Phrases

Why You Should Read Powerful Phrases for Dealing With Workplace Conflict

Because conflict is hard.

You probably didn’t learn practical, productive approaches to conflict in school. And, if you’re like most of us, you grew up watching role models really screw it up. You’ve had some conflicts not go well yourself, and you don’t like how that feels. We hate that feeling too.

That’s why we wrote Powerful Phrases for Dealing With Workplace Conflict. To give you practical communication techniques to successfully navigate conflict at work. And when you do, you’ll get better you’ll get better results, build trust, have more influence, and collaborate better with your coworkers.

For more, watch our recent interview on WTOL11 below.

Leading Edge Conflict Interview

And now a confession…

When Tim, our publisher, called and said, “Hey, we need a book to help people deal with today’s challenging and complex workplace conflicts. Want to write it?” our first reaction was, “Yeah, sure. Makes sense. We can do that.”

After all, we’ve been traveling the world shoving all brands of “diaper genies” into overhead compartments of planes for nearly a decade. (“Don’t worry, it’s clean,” we always assure the surprised flight attendant.) And we’ve spent many hours walking jet-lagged around the streets the night before a keynote asking, “Hast du einen windeleimer?” or “Yoˇu mài niàobù toˇng de ma?” (Do you have a diaper pail for sale?) diaper genie feedback

If you’re not familiar with these stink-containing contraptions, you take a stinky diaper, put it in the genie, give it a twist, and plastic envelops the diaper so tight it doesn’t stink. But, of course, the stink is still there, which you know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of emptying one of those long plastic-wrapped bundles of joy.

We’re big believers that with workplace conflict, if you can’t smell it, you can’t solve it. And while we think these contraptions are a great invention for parents and babies, metaphorical genies can derail your influence and impact and destroy trust. So, “Yes, let’s do it” was our first answer.

But, when we thought more deeply about actually writing the book, we had to ditch our own metaphorical genie and ask ourselves hard questions. How good are we at navigating conflict at work?

Are we really qualified to write this book? As a married couple writing books together and running an international leadership development firm in the turbulence of a global pandemic and beyond, we’re in a constant dance of conflict and collaboration. A few examples from our conversations with one another:

“I know you really want to take on this new strategic project, but that’s not in our plan. I’ve got a ton on my plate right now, and there’s no way I can do all the things.”

“Hey, don’t you realize how much work went into this? How about a bit more appreciation?”

Don’t tell me it’s a stupid idea! First of all, it’s brilliant. And would you ever talk to anyone on our team that way? Maybe read your own book on Courageous Cultures and respond with regard the next time.”

Of course, in our “workplace,” the stakes of a mismanaged conflict are high. Disagreements and hurt feelings don’t turn off just because it’s time to go to bed.

Like you, we wish workplace conflict was easier.

And so, we said yes. Not because we do conflict perfectly all the time, but because we know how challenging conflict is and how important it is for you to have practical skills and tools to do this well.

The Conflict and Collaboration Resource Center

Okay, so you’ve ordered your copy of Powerful Phrases, don’t forget to get your companion resources! We’ve built a vault of companion resources to help you build more confident, collaborative, creative (and happier) teams.

  • Quickly align expectations.
  • Establish habits and norms for working through conflicts.
  • Train your team on practical approaches, before the going gets hard.
  • Talk about your team’s “conflict cocktails” and what you can do about them to make life easier.

resource center


We encourage you to use (and share) these resources to support your journey,

When. you love it, will you help us spread the word about Powerful Phrases for Dealing With Workplace Conflict?

🎉📚 Got your copy of “Powerful Phrases for Dealing With Workplace Conflict” yet? 🎉📚 Dive into pages filled with strategies for less stress and more effective teamwork. Whether you love to flip through pages, swipe on your Kindle, or listen on the go with Audible, we’ve got you covered! And hey, the voices you’ll hear on Audible? That’s us!

🌟 We need a tiny favor! 🌟 If our book adds wisdom to de-stress your day, would you mind hopping onto Amazon or Goodreads and dropping a review? Each early review is like a high-five for our future readers – it helps spread the word fast!

🔗 It doesn’t have to be anything fancy! Just a sentence or two will do. Your support means the world to us, and it helps keep the good vibes and great advice flowing. Thank you for being awesome! 🌍✨

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!


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Karin Hurt and David Dye

Karin Hurt and David Dye help human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results. As CEO and President of Let’s Grow Leaders, they are known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. Karin and David are the award-winning authors of five books including, Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. David Dye is a former executive and elected official. Karin and David are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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Be More Daring


Get the FREE Courageous Cultures E-Book to learn how

7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

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