Updated: Feb 18, 2019
This series of articles explores the toxic behavior profiles that persistently generate workplace conflict and provides tips on how to respond.
In Creative vs. Toxic Conflict at Work, I discussed one of the key features that distinguishes toxic conflict from creative conflict.
Creative conflict is rooted in the dynamics between people. In creative conflict, the motives and goals of group members are typically healthy and focused on a sincere desire to solve concrete external problems and challenges.
Toxic conflict is typically rooted in the personalities of individual people. While creative conflict is rooted in an external problem, toxic conflict is rooted in the problematic behavior of one or more individuals.
Thankfully, most of the behavior that generates toxic conflict is common and predictable. This means that you can plan ahead for behaviors that are certain to recur.
Think of these “Toxic Workplace Behavior Profile” articles as your top-secret files on how to prepare and respond strategically to the most disruptive and toxic behaviors in your workplace.
Code Name: The Peacemonger
Motto: I’m great. How are you?
Favorite Song: Everything is Awesome
Favorite Movie: Anything animated, preferably by Pixar
Behavior: Can’t we all just get along? No peacemonger, we can’t.
Yes, we know that all this office tension makes you feel uncomfortable. It makes all of us uncomfortable too. That’s why we need to deal with it.
In the recent article, Stay in the Problem, I discussed the dangers of resolving conflicts too soon. We humans don’t like uncertainty. And conflict brings bigtime uncertainty.
For some of us, the drive to control the fear of uncertainty in relationships can develop into a compulsion. It can turn you into a peacemonger.
The peacemonger doesn’t just prefer things to be peaceful. They deeply need things to be peaceful – even if that means squashing, denying or contriving superficial resolution to conflicts.