If in your organization there’s a high-conflict person causing disruption where team members walk on eggshells, their boss may request coaching for the high-conflict individual.Before saying yes, consider that the problem has not been accurately defined.

There’s only one reason the high-conflict person does what they do: because it works. And the reason it works is because the manager of the high-conflict person has refused to have a difficult conversation.Here are three signs that indicate conflict aversion as well as the dysfunctional mindset, the needed mind shift, and the key to success.


Leadership behavior is intricately linked with identity. Many leaders identify with being nice. Switch the word nice to amicable or even-keeled, and those terms define an identity that is measured by likeability. The only problem is when a manager’s need to be liked overrides the decision to be respected.

That leader simply nods in agreement, appeases or moves the chess pieces around to compensate for the drama — anything but initiate a conversation that might make trigger anger or other uncomfortable emotions.