Clouting conflict in the workplace

You are at work when suddenly all hell breaks loose and you feel as if you are standing at the centre of your own personal Armageddon.

The boss is shouting at you so loudly that within a nanosecond eyes emerge from behind every screen in the office and lock on to you in anticipation of your response.

A wave of different emotions flood your body and you will either glare in anger at the offending individual ready to give as good as you get; run from the room to hide your upset and embarrassment or freeze to the spot as your brain rotates madly in your skull searching for the right response.


You have just entered the conflict zone. We have all been there, right? Everyone has a ‘war story’ from work about a similar scenario and how they dealt with it or not, whatever the case maybe.

According to Change and Conflict expert Milee Brambleby, Director of Norwich-based Common Sense Services, the way people react largely depends on one of five, distinct conflict styles: - Collaboration, Competing, Avoiding, Accommodating and Compromising.

To help individuals remember what they are each style is associated with an animal: owl, shark, turtle, teddy bear and fox. For example, turtles tend to do their best to avoid any sort of confrontation while sharks will try to overpower their opponents with the sole purpose of winning the argument.

However, Milee points out that while we all intuitively fit into one style more than any other, we are all capable of adopting the traits of each when so desired.

At this month’s Norwich meeting of The Business Woman’s Network at Caistor Hall Hotel, in Caistor St Edmund, Milee, who helps businesses resolve conflict issues and also works as a Community Mediator for a national charity gave an engaging talk along with some very worthwhile advice as to how to deal with these unwelcome scenarios.

“Conflict affects us all on a daily basis,” she said: “You would have to not talk to anybody, not to engage in some sort of conflict.”

It is in the workplace, however, where the effects of conflict can have long-lasting and often damaging consequences. Unresolved, it can lead to a demotivated and despairing workforce, hence the demand for Milee’s services.

Milee shared a technique for dealing with those awful moments where we might find ourselves under verbal attack from another individual.

She explained that by remembering to use ISAC or Identify, Stop, Acknowledge and Choose, we are all capable of finding resolution.

The tell-tale signs to identify that your are in conflict are feelings of anger, heart rate going up and sweaty palms. However, by practising and following the ISAC rules, you can learn how to deal with such a situation and bring about resolution for all concerned.

To learn more about the techniques and how Milee’s services can help your business click the website address: To find out more about the BWN networking events click

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