Be Curious in Approaching Team Conflict

Posted by Kristin Arnold on September 28, 2021

I was reminded the other day of the importance of being curious rather than defensive when approaching a conflict situation.

My dear friend and colleague, Marilyn Sherman shares an interesting observation every Friday.  This week’s “Front Row Friday” focused on “a simple hack to reduce conflict.”


To summarize Marilyn, when facing an argumentative situation, start with curiosity and use these three words, “Help me understand…”  It diffuses the anger sizzling in the room by actively listening to their response.

I am reminded of Steven Covey and the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  The fifth habit is to seek first to understand, then to be understood.

With all the conflict going on in the world and our teams, I wish we would not be so polarized in our positions, defensive of our opinions. We should be more curious about what others are thinking and feeling, exploring the areas that we have in common, and looking for a win-win (Habit 4!).

This week, I am purposefully trying to infuse more curiosity into my conversations!  How about you?


For more information about how to lead your team in the virtual environment, use these resources.

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 27 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.  Her latest book, 123 Ways to Add Pizazz to a Panel Discussion was published in January 2021.

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Photo by Lagos Techie on Unsplash

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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