Will Salyards
Leadership Coaching and Mentoring

Will Salyards, PhD Blog

Life, Career, Leadership


Conflict isn't going away. If people look to you for comment, opinion, decision and ultimately action, regardless your intent and desire for a better present, the stuff of disagreements will remain. It isn't a reflection upon your ability or integrity but the confluence of people and the competition of values. It seems we have two broad choices: Wish it weren't so or see that conflict, like love, is part and parcel of the human experience and emphasize its positive connotations to the benefit of the overall project.

While we cannot completely control the time or place of conflict we do have influence over our reaction to it.

When engaging conflict it is crucial to remain accessible to people but apart from the issue(s) within their disagreement. This self-differentiation is the ability to offer care without becoming emotionally dependent on how people react to it. Craig Nessan said it is our "caring yet free to be a self" and results in a non-anxious presence that "preserves the unity of the system and the distinction of the persons."

Staying connected to the system while being true to our convictions requires four aspects of our person: Conviction, perspective, relationship, and self-understanding. Across these four Robert McKenna has found ten dimensions that aid self-differentiation.


Conflict can also indicate that as a leader these challenges are invitations for your further development. Developmental Coaching could be helpful. Want to learn more? Schedule a no-cost introduction.