Whenever a group of people brainstorm over an idea, a difference in opinion is bound to happen. And often, these differences can lead to healthy debates. Thus, conflict, without a doubt, is a healthy and very natural part of organisational life.
Conflict can help create opportunities to innovate and find creative solutions. It challenges the team to look at a situation from a fresh perspective; which can nudge people to develop greater understanding, and search for alternative avenues that are more efficient.
Unresolved conflict, however, can result in organisational breakdown. Careless words can lead to hurt feelings and strained inter-personal relationships. And so, while healthy clash of ideas should be encouraged, conflict management is an important factor in enabling efficient teamwork.
Let’s take a look at 100 insightful quotes on conflict, even as we try and understand the right way to disagree with others.
1. Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
— Horace Mann
2. We may have different points of arguments from perspectives of belief, faith and religion. But we must not hate each other. We are one human family.
— Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!
3. 90% of relationship issues are caused by misunderstandings, 9.9% by conflicts of interest. Luckily, ladies and gentlemen can always come to an agreement.
— Stefan Emunds
4. To be, or not to be: that is the question
— Hamlet (Act III, Scene I)
5. Healing is the end of conflict with yourself.
6. The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them.
— Thomas Crum
7. When introverts are in conflict with each other, it may require a map in order to follow all the silences, nonverbal cues, and passive-aggressive behaviors!
— Adam S. McHugh
8. Marriage means expectations and expectations mean conflict.
– Paxton Blair
9. I have a self-made quote: Celebrate diversity, practice acceptance and may we all choose peaceful options to conflict.
— Donzella Michele Malone
11. If I, taking care of everyone’s interests, also take care of my own, you can’t talk about a conflict of interest.
— Silvio Berlusconi
12. The need for justice grows out of the conflict of human interests. That is to say, if there were no conflict of interests among mankind, we should never have invented the word justice, nor conceived the idea for which it stands.
— Thomas Nixon Carver
13. All conflict can be traced back to someone’s feelings getting hurt, don’t you think?
— Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies
14. When you run for president, you have certain obligations. One of them would be to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest.
— Charles Schumer
15. An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.
— Mahatma Gandhi
16. Today everything’s a conflict of interest.
— Sid Vicious
17. Often those that criticise others reveal what he himself lacks
— Shannon L. Alder
18. My wife Mary and I have been married for forty-seven years and not once have we had an argument serious enough to consider divorce; murder, yes, but divorce, never.
– Jack Benny
19. The president can’t have a conflict of interest.
— Donald Trump
21. Did it ever occur to you, that there is no conflict of interests among men, neither in business nor in trade nor in their most personal desires – if they omit the irrational from their view of the possible and destruction from their view of the practical?
– Ayn Rand
22. Because people aren’t perfect and relationships are messy, we all need to learn how to resolve conflicts.
— John Maxwell
23. Knowing when to fight is just as important as knowing how.
— Terry Goodkind
24. Peace is better than war, because conflict resolutions can be made without a wastage of life and resources.
— Gugu Mona
25. You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.
– Dale Carnegie
26. Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
— Douglas Adams
27. When conflict becomes a win-lose contest in our minds, we immediately try to win.
— Thomas Crum
28. Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
— Ambrose Bierce
29. Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.
— Mahatma Gandhi
31. Conflict can destroy a team, which hasn’t spent time learning to deal with it.
– Thomas Isgar
32. I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.
– Margaret Thatcher.
33. Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.
— William James
34. Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
— Winston Churchill
35. A willingness to trust and openly listen to alternative ideas and views is essential for collaboration to be successful.
— Dale Eilerman
36. Arguments drag out because one is too stubborn to forgive and the other is too proud to apologise.
37. Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.
— Cullen Hightower
38. The most important thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the fact.
– Howard Baker
39. The better able team members are to engage, speak, listen, hear, interpret, and respond constructively, the more likely their teams are to leverage conflict rather than be levelled by it.
— Runde and Flanagan
41. Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.
— Wayne Dyer
42. In a conflict, being willing to change allows you to move from a point of view to a viewing point – a higher, more expansive place, from which you can see both sides.
— Thomas Crum
43. They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.
— Clint Eastwood
44. Every conflict we face in life is rich with positive and negative potential. It can be a source of inspiration, enlightenment, learning, transformation, and growth-or rage, fear, shame, entrapment, and resistance. The choice is not up to our opponents, but to us, and our willingness to face and work through them.
— Kenneth Cloke
45. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.
— Harper Lee
46. The days are too short even for love; how can there be enough time for quarrelling.
— Margaret Gatty
47. Conflict is inevitable but combat is optional.
— Max Lucado
48. Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
— Benjamin Franklin
49. An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything.
— Lynn Johnston
51. Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with, the wind.
— Hamilton Wright Mabie
52. To practice the process of conflict resolution, we must completely abandon the goal of getting people to do what we want.
— Marshall B. Rosenberg
53. There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them.
— Phyllis Bottome
54. Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, What else could this mean?
— Shannon Alder
55. Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.
— Saul Alinsky
56. To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.
57. We can often do more for other men by trying to correct our own faults than by trying to correct theirs.
— Francois Fenelon
58. By the time a man realizes that his father was right, he has a son who thinks he’s wrong.
— Charles Wadsworth
59. Anyone can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not easy.
61. If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.
— Bill Vaughan
62. Never ascribe to an opponent motive meaner than your own.
— John M. Barrie
63. You do not achieve anything without trouble, ever.
— Margaret Thatcher
64. One might as well try to ride two horses moving in different directions, as to try tomaintain in equal force two opposing or contradictory sets of desires
65. No one in history has ever been insulted into agreement.
— Arthur Brooks
66. If war is the violent resolution of conflict, then peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather, the ability to resolve conflict without violence.
— C.T. Lawrence Butler
67. One of the most basic principles for making and keeping peace within and between nations…is that in political, military, moral, and spiritual confrontations, there should be an honest attempt at the reconciliation of differences before resorting to combat.
— Jimmy Carter
68. Peace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.
— Ronald Reagan
69. A stiff apology is a second insult. The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.
— G.K. Chesterton
71. Every conflict we face in life is rich with positive and negative potential. It can be a source of inspiration, enlightenment, learning, transformation, and growth–or rage, fear, shame, entrapment, and resistance. The choice is not up to our opponents, but to us, and our willingness to face and work through them.
— Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith
72. You can’t talk your way out of something you behaved your way into. You have to behave your way out of it.
— Doug Conant (CEO of Campbell Soup, as quoted in Harvard Business Review)
73. Do not kid yourself- a conflict is never about the surface issue. It is about the ones unsaid, untreated and unhealed wounds.
74. There is little value in preparing a cookbook of recipes for conflict success. The effects of conflict interaction depend directly on what the participants do mentally with conflict behaviour—that is, how they process and interpret their behaviour.
— William Cupach & Daniel Canary
75. I believe that the basic nature of human beings is gentle and compassionate. It is therefore in our own interest to encourage that nature, to make it live within us, to leave room for it to develop. If on the contrary we use violence, it is as if we voluntarily obstruct the positive side of human nature and prevent its evolution.
— His Holiness the Dalai Lama
76. To a disciple who was forever complaining about others the Master said, ‘If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth.
— Anthony de Mello
76. The longer we listen to one another – with real attention – the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply opinions.
— Barbara Deming
77. Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheeplike passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving.
— John Dewey
78. The more incompetent one feels, the more eager he is to fight.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky
79. The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way in which we use them.
– Adriana Doyle
81. Whenever two good people argue over principles, they are both right.
— Marie Ebner von Eschenbach
82. The problem with holding a grudge is that your hands are then too full to hold onto anything else.
— Seth Godin
83. We don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note. Only notes that are different can harmonize. The same is true with people.
— Steve Goodier
84. People are disturbed not by things, but by the view they take of them.
85. What people often mean by getting rid of conflict is getting rid of diversity, and it is of utmost importance that these should not be considered the same. We may wish to abolish conflict, but we cannot get rid of diversity. Fear of difference is fear of life itself.
— Mary Parker Follett
86. You can never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
— Buckminister Fuller
87. It is possible to conceive conflict as not necessarily a wasteful outbreak of incompatibilities, but a normal process by which socially valuable differences register themselves for the enrichment of all concerned.
— Mary Parker Follett
88. If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.
— Benjamin Franklin
89. Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.
— Robert Frost
91. You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.
— Indira Gandhi
92. What may appear as the truth to one person will often appear as untruth to another person. But that need not worry the seeker. Where there is honest effort, it will be realized that what appeared to be different truths are like the countless and apparently different leaves of the same tree.
93. Listening is not waiting to talk.
— Scott Ginsberg
94. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply
— Stephen R Covey.
95. 10% of conflicts is due to difference in opinion and 90% is due to wrong tone of voice.
— Susan Wiertzema
96. Conflict cannot survive without your participation.
— Wayne Dyer
97. There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict. Walk away; the battle they are fighting isn’t with you, it is with themselves.
98. Deflect, co-opt, absorb or annihilate. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a sword fight or conducting a worldwide military campaign, these are the options for dealing with your opposition.”
— Graeme Rodaughan, The Day Guard
99. The risks of the conflict never overwhelmed me, only the fear of marginalization.”
— Marie Benedict
That brings us to the end of this exhaustive list. Do let us know the quote you found most relatable. We would love to hear from you!
Also, if you would like us to add any quote to this list, feel free to drop a comment.