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As individuals, we can be creative and ambitious in our personallives and in our professional lives. But individual effortscan’t always match the energy and productivity of a group.Cultures, societies, clubs, schools, and militaries arose out ofour need to band together for mutual support. Organizations werecreated to deal more effectively with the environment—boththe natural world and the world of work. But there is a trade-offwhen we move from individual contributions to group efforts: therelationships necessary for working together can spawnconflict.
In organizations, tensions between individuals need to be defused,or focused in order to find productive solutions to problems. Thisis especially critical when conflict arises between people atdifferent levels in the organization, such as when you are having aconflict with your boss. These tensions aren’t easy tohandle. Conflict can generate discomfort, anger, and ineffectivebehavior. Feelings such as fear and resentment can rise to thesurface. Organizational issues such as unclear lines of authority,power, politics, and ineffective support systems also come intoplay.
Although these internal and external factors create a rich andcomplicated landscape for conflict to flourish, a conflict withyour boss doesn’t necessarily spell the end of your careerwith an organization. There are steps you can take to gainperspective on conflict and to manage the conflict so that itfocuses your energy and your boss’s energy on the needs ofthe organization, moving both of you toward a more productiveworking relationship.

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