Overcome Negative Reactions at Work with the 4 Rs of conflict resolution

How you ever had an extreme reaction to a seemingly small problem at work and wondered “Where did that come from? Why did I react so strongly?”.

It could be your Workplace Family Factor® getting triggered.

Your Workplace Family Factor® is the connection between:

  1. The way conflict was handled in your upbringing. 
  2. How you handle conflict today in the workplace. 

We all have childhood experiences that influence who we become as adults. The purpose of looking back at our upbringing isn’t to blame, it’s to understand.

When you reflect on your upbringing, you gain invaluable self-awareness. 

When leaders apply their self-awareness to how they manage their emotions, they’re more likely to overcome negative reactions when things don’t go as planned, face tense conversations, and lead their team through conflict productively.  

Ultimately, having self-awareness makes you a more effective leader.

The 4 Rs of Conflict Resolution

In my book, How Did My Family Get In My Office?!, I outline four action steps to improve how you manage your Workplace Family Factor® during conflict at work.  The first two steps focus on self-awareness and the second two focus on how you manage your reaction during conflict.

  1. Regard the Scar – When you reflect on your family upbringing, Regard the Scar is recognizing how you were emotionally impacted by events in your upbringing, both the strengths and hurts. By acknowledging the emotions associated with these events, you are taking the emotional charge out of them, which ultimately leads to changed behavior.

Why is this important? We all have wounds, hurts, scars, whatever you want to call them from our upbringing. Even those who report having a “perfect” childhood, have gone through events that affected them emotionally. By addressing the emotional impact of your upbringing, you are on your way to healing scars that prompt you to overreact during conflict. 

  1. Reframe to Stop Blame – Taking control of your mindset during conflict is key to stop blame and start taking responsibility for how you show up. By focusing on your part, you’re changing the only person you can change, you. A key aspect of Reframe to Stop Blame is making a conscious choice to learn from mistakes and improve going forward.  

Why is this important? Our brains are wired to focus on the negative. Making a conscious choice to stop finger-pointing and take responsibility for your part of the conflict opens the door to view problems as opportunities to grow and learn from. Even when things get messy, how you respond is what defines you.

  1. Respect and Connect – This step is all about managing your reaction with emotional intelligence regardless of what others do or don’t do. It is about staying in the tension of conflict while being kind, respectful, and civil. Respect and Connect also includes setting appropriate boundaries around what’s okay and what’s not okay in terms of behaviors  when working through differences.  Even if people have strong opinions, you can disagree with respect.

Why is this important? According to research by incivility expert, Christine Porath, leaders who exhibit civility, especially during conflict, have a 13% higher work performance. Employees want respect more than recognition, appreciation, and useful feedback. Your credibility as a leader skyrockets when you stay connected and respectful when you show it’s possible to work through differences directly.  

  1. Resolve to EvolveBe the author of your success, no matter what comes your way.  Regardless of events from your upbringing and emotional scars, you’re determined to  find purpose, create meaning from adversity and grow throughout your lifetime. 

Why is this important? As a leader, your behavior has a significant impact on your entire work culture. That’s why it’s crucial to have an inner conviction to grow through whatever challenges you face. When you do, you’re modeling the willingness to receive feedback, overcome blind spots, and be held accountable for making improvements.

So there you have it. The 4 R’s of Conflict Resolution action steps to gain self-awareness of how your family upbringing impacts the way you handle conflict at work…and what you can do about it. To aid in your leadership development, I want to give you a complimentary copy of my e-book, The 4 R’s of Conflict Resolution: Lead your team through productive conflict.

Get Your Copy of The 4 R’s of Conflict Resolution

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Here you’ll find step-by-step examples of how to identify your Workplace Family Factor® and gain invaluable insight of what’s driving your negative reactions when you face conflict at work. It also includes practical strategies for bringing your best self to your leadership and questions for self-reflection. 

Implementing the 4 Rs of conflict resolution is some of the most meaningful leadership  development you will do in your lifetime that will positively impact both your work and personal relationships.  

If you’re ready to take the next step in your leadership journey and lead your team through productive conflict, download your complimentary e-book now.

Best regards,


About the author 

Bonnie Artman Fox, MS, LMFT works with executive leaders who want to gain self-awareness about the impact of their words and actions and up-level their interpersonal skills. 

Drawing from decades as a psychiatric nurse and licensed family therapist, Bonnie brings a unique perspective to equip executive leaders with the roadmap to emotional intelligence that brings teams together. 

Bonnie’s leadership Turnaround coaching program has an 82% success rate in guiding leaders to replace abrasive behavior with tact, empathy, and consideration of others. The end result is a happy, healthy, and profitable workplace…sooner vs. later.

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