There seems to be more stress, pressure and conflict in the workplace then ever before. As budgets tighten, layoffs happen, and higher productivity is expected, tempers inevitably flare. Show your leadership skills by mastering these tips to maintaining a calm presence in the face of conflict and crisis.


Keep breathing. When someone behaves in an unexpected way, it is normal for us to stop breathing momentarily. Breathing low and slowly brings more oxygen to your brain, allowing you to think clearly. It also slows down your central nervous system response, allowing you to maintain control of yourself and the situation. Think about the best outcome. Choose a win-win resolution.

Be strategic in what you say

During a possible conflict situation, use less first-person pronouns and more third-person pronouns. It can transform a situation. For example, “The report has errors...” instead of “Your report has errors....” Possessive words such as I, my, you and your can lead to defensiveness.

Know the meaning of your nonverbals

Eye contact is one of the most critical to a positive outcome to conflict. As you discuss the situation, be selective in the amount of direct eye contact. Too much direct eye contact can inflame the conflict, especially between two males. The rate at which you blink is also a form of giving or removing eye contact. We tend to blink more when we are under stress, so learn to control your blink rate. If you have a serious message to send, practice extending eye contact without blinking. Limited blinking adds to your message’s credibility.

Understanding the unconscious messages you send and how they harm or enhance your part in conflict can determine your career future.

On April 24th, 8:30pm eastern join Sharon Sayler, MBA, CEC, behavioral communications expert and founder of Competitive Edge Communications for more information on mastering your communication and leadership confidence visit

Courage under Fire: How to Defuse Conflict in the Workplace

Author's Bio: 

Sharon Sayler, MBA, is a Communications Success Strategist. Sharon trains professionals on how to become stronger, more influential communicators and leaders. Her latest book What Your Body Says (and how to master the message) is available wherever books are sold and get an autographed copy at and visit her other site: