Category Archives: Conflict Resolution

Tools for Reducing Internal Conflict



When we think of a conflict, we most likely think about a disagreement with another person.  In actuality, for many people, the conflicts we have inside ourselves cause us the most distress.

Here are 3 ways to effectively deal with internal conflicts:

  1. Notice your early warning signals.

How does your body react when you are upset? Does your heart beat fast, do your hands get sweaty, do you clench your jaw, does your stomach tighten, do you talk to yourself in a nasty tone?  By paying attention to your early warning signals you can redirect and calm yourself.  Try a short meditation such as Judy Sugg’s 3-minute mindful pause.

  1. Be kind to yourself.

 Are you your own worst enemy? Do you find that you are more critical of yourself than others are of you?  The first step in becoming less self-critical is to become aware you are giving yourself negative messages and then, consciously substitute the negative self-messages with positive self-messages.  Treat yourself with the same kindness you would give a good friend.

  1. Give your worries a reality check.

You may find that fretting over what could go wrong keeps you from directly dealing with a conflict.  Often worries over what could go wrong are exaggerated.  Talk with someone you trust and who is familiar with the situation. You may find the reality of the situation is less toxic than your fears.

You can find more tools for conflict resolution in the book, “Transforming Conflict with Mindfulness” by Judith Sugg & Alisa Blum.  Information about our training programs for organizational health can be found at .







It’s Time to Focus on Respect


As the public has become increasingly aware of the sexual harassment and sexual assault women have been receiving in the workplace, there has been much discussion about what to do to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault at work. The solution to the prevention of the behaviors that lead to sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace is quite complex as legal issues, corporate culture and individual behavior change all need to be addressed.

One way to prevent this abhorrent and destructive behavior is to create a culture of respect in the workplace.   So, how do we do this?

First, it is important to develop the capacity to reflect on your own behavior. Are you communicating with others in a way they find demeaning? Do you even know if you are communicating in this manner? Do you have the courage to find out? What would happen if men in executive positions asked female employees what types of behaviors they found disrespectful — And then, changed behaviors that the female employees found to be offensive? If these discussions were modeled and encouraged by executives, would others in the organization feel free to have these discussions?

Creating a safe environment is key to developing a respectful workplace.   One way to create a safe environment is to demonstrate empathy. Whether you agree with the other person’s perspective or not, put yourself in their shoes and show them that you understand their perspective and their feelings.

When developing new strategies to create a respectful workplace, collaborate with others. Our best solutions happen when we ask for input and capitalize on the strengths of those we work with day to day. And finally, when all of these aspects of respect are put in to place, you will create a thriving work environment.

Keep this acronym in mind to help you remember the qualities for creating a respectful workplace:




Perspective taking




Employers can’t afford to wait to take the steps now to create a respectful work environment.

© 2017, Alisa Blum, Alisa Blum & Associates, All Rights Reserved

Alisa Blum & Associates works with businesses and organizations to build relationships that enhance individual and team effectiveness.  Information about our services can be found at

Mindful Listening is THE Best Tool for Conflict Resolution

By Alisa Blum, MSW & Judy Sugg, Ph.D:  AIM for Organizational Health


You may think you can multitask and listen exquisitely. You can’t. The two are incompatible, and when conflict arises, the lack of attention and listening, coupled with high emotion, can easily derail any attempts at resolution.

We advocate not just listening in conflict situations, and not even just listening well. We advocate Mindful Listening as the most effective skill for conflict resolution. Mindful listening requires being highly attuned to both our own emotions and the emotions of others. When we listen mindfully we observe our own emotional state with curiosity. We keep self-talk and judgment at bay. In communicating with others, we listen with as clear a head as possible. We pay exquisite attention in order to really hear what is going on with the other person-in words, tone, emotions and body language.

Try these steps the next time you are faced with communicating with someone you don’t see eye to eye with:

  1. Before engaging with the other person, clear your head with a compassion meditation. This will help you stay calm and be more compassionate toward yourself and the other person.
  2. Stay focused on what you are hearing the other person say as well as what you observe.   Paraphrase with empathy, what you hear and describe the emotions you notice.

You will find that when you stay calm and the other person feels heard, you will be taking significant steps toward de-escalating negativity and resolving your conflict.

More conflict resolution tips can be found in the book, “Transforming Conflict with Mindfulness” by Judy Sugg & Alisa Blum.   For questions about our consulting, training & coaching, you can reach us at (503) 481-7586 or Program information can be found at


Resolve Conflict by Taking the Other Person’s Perspective

Young businessman being confronted by his angry female boss. Isolated on white.

In conflict, your perspective is, by definition, different from the other person’s.

Both of you have feelings, desires, and maybe your self-esteem is at stake.  You can be strategic in resolving conflict by being self-aware and also “other aware”.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree, but knowing where the other person is coming from is valuable and humanizing.

Start with yourself: What causes you to view the situation this way?  How does your culture, personality, or circumstance show up?  Now imagine the other person: What do you know about them?  Their values?  Position?  What’s important to them?  What shows up about their culture, personality, or circumstance?

To understand another person’s perspective we must be willing to suspend our own opinions and look through the world through their eyes.  What are the pressures in their life?  What is driving their behavior and attitude?

When we gain this type of insight, we more easily diffuse the tension.  By small indications of understanding like, “I’m guessing you are under pressure because of the deadline”, we create space to maneuver. Taking the other person’s perspective is a powerful strategy for sidestepping judgements that block effective communication.

This post is an excerpt from “Six Word Lessons for Transforming Conflict at Work” by Judith Sugg & Alisa Blum.  This book can be purchased from here:  Transforming Conflict with Mindfulness.

Contact us to explore how we can help your organization reduce conflict and enhance productivity.