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Published on: The Strategic Leader Podcast

Season 2 Episode 3: How to Overcome Conflict Avoidance in the Workplace

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In this episode Gemma is talking to special guest Jo Bamford.

We talk about the dynamics of workplace conflict and ways to embrace diverse perspectives which can lead to richer outcomes. By inviting challenge, conflict can foster innovation, pushing teams to consider alternative viewpoints and solutions. By inviting challenge, conflict can drive innovation, by prompting us to consider alternative viewpoints and solutions. 

Staying actively curious and active listening are essential tools for overcoming conflict avoidance and promoting constructive dialogue.

A key highlight from our discussion is the insight drawn from Matthew Syed’s book ‘Rebel Ideas’, particularly the chapter on Rebels vs Clones. Syed advocates for seeking out individuals who challenge the status quo, as their perspectives often lead to more innovative outcomes. 

We also stress the importance of expecting positive outcomes when addressing conflicts, reframing them as opportunities for growth and learning. And we explore the concept of viewing fear as excitement, shifting our mindset towards conflict as a pathway to innovation and strategic success.


Our Key Tips to Overcoming Conflict Avoidance include: 

  1. Recognise that conflict isn’t inherently negative – it’s healthy and necessary (with the right approach)
  2. Acknowledge that it’s natural to have different perspectives – give yourself permission to disagree
  3. Invite challenge, and then…
  4. Focus on listening and understanding the other person’s perspective.
  5. Aim for a third, better outcome rather than ‘winning the argument’
  6. Avoid procrastination.
  7. Reframe your approach to conflict as an opportunity to explore differences and reach better outcomes.


Just for the podcast shownotes (not my website, unless you disagree Sophie)

About Jo Bamford:

Jo is an Occupational Psychologist with 30+ years of experience and an even bigger bucket of passion about maximising potential, raising performance, removing obstacles and enabling people and organisations achieve outcomes that are extra ordinary. 

Her company Bacon6 create bespoke solutions to support people, teams and the wider business to achieve ambitions around growth, change, culture and leadership. Jo brings a positive energy to everything she does – she is curious and collaborative and approaches the challenges faced with these same key principles.