Powerful phrases for workplace conflict


Powerful phrases for workplace conflict. In this episode Judith Germain speaks to Karin Hurt about “Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict” and how to address conflicts proactively.

Key Takeaways

  • The book provides practical tools, techniques, and phrases to have productive conflict conversations
  • It’s based on research showing people wish they had spoken up sooner in conflicts
  • The phrases are grounded in 4 dimensions: connection, clarity, curiosity, commitment
  • Examples: “I really care about X and I’m confident we can find a solution”, “What would a successful outcome do for you?”
  • Covers handling conflicts in remote/hybrid teams and with different personality types


The Book’s Approach

  • Provides 12 “powerful phrases”, 3 for each of 4 dimensions of productive conflict
  • Dimensions: connection, clarity on success, curiosity about perspectives, commitment to next steps
  • Designed to quickly find relevant phrases for your conflict situation
  • Grounded in research showing people wish they stayed calm and spoke up sooner in conflicts

Using the Phrases Effectively

  • Words alone aren’t enough – tone, body language are critical
  • Choose phrases that feel authentic to your communication style
  • First establish connection/curiosity before using clarity/commitment phrases
  • For neurodivergent colleagues, the clear words can be more helpful than subtext

Common Workplace Conflicts

  • Boss taking credit for your work – approach curiously, suggest ways to highlight contributions
  • Lack of clarity on expectations, especially in remote/hybrid teams
  • Micromanaging, negative attitudes, passive aggression – the book has specific phrases for these

Being Proactive

  • Ask yourself: Why does speaking up matter? What’s at stake if I’m silent?
  • Don’t avoid conflicts that are important – have the conversation
  • It’s better to surface issues upfront rather than waiting for problems to arise

In this conversation Judith and Karin discuss Karin’s new book “Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict”, which provides practical tools and techniques for addressing workplace conflicts in a proactive, human-centered way. The book focuses on four key dimensions: connection, clarity, curiosity, and commitment.

Karin also discusses how remote and hybrid work environments can introduce new types of conflicts, such as unclear expectations around things like camera usage and work-from-anywhere policies. Karin Hurt is the Founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, she encourages courage and inspires innovation. She’s the author of 5 books including the just released, Powerful phrases for dealing with workplace conflict: what to say next to destress the workday, build collaboration and calm difficult customers.

Maverick leadership is all about thinking outside the box and challenging the status quo. It’s about having the courage to take risks and the confidence to lead in a way that is authentic and genuine.

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Karin Hurt can be found on LinkedIn here. Her website is here.

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