130 Quotes About Conflict Management in the Workplace

Reading Time: 14 Minutes

Our collection of inspirational quotes offers a unique lens to view and navigate workplace challenges. Derived from leaders and thinkers across various industries, these thought-provoking insights offer practical wisdom and strategies to transform conflicts into opportunities for growth and collaboration.

For professionals seeking a productive work environment, these quotes will provide inspiration for better communication, understanding, and leadership.

  1. “In the end, the aggressors always destroy themselves, making way for others who know how to cooperate and get along. Life is much less a competitive struggle for survival than a triumph of cooperation and creativity.” – Fritjof Capra
  2. “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 leveled by it.” – Runde and Flanagan
  3. “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” – Walter Lippmann
  4. “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
  5. “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of reading between the lines is a lifelong quest of the wise.” – Shannon L. Alder
  6. “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
  7. “A good manager doesn’t try to eliminate conflict; he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people. If you’re the boss and your people fight you openly when they think that you are wrong–that’s healthy.” – Robert Townsend
  8. “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
  9. “There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict. Walk away from these people. The battle they’re are fighting isn’t with you, it’s with themselves.” – Rashida Rowe
  10. “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie
  11. “The Law of Win/Win says, ‘Let’s not do it your way or my way; let’s do it the best way’.” – Greg Anderson
  12. “There’s been a quantum leap technologically in our age, but unless there’s another quantum leap in human relations, unless we learn to live in a new way towards one another, there will be a catastrophe.” – Albert Einstein
  13. “No pressure, no diamonds.” – Unknown
  14. “When one ceases from conflict, whether because he has won, because he has lost, or because he cares no more for the game, the virtue passes out of him.” – Charles Horton Cooley
  15. “The more we run from conflict, the more it masters us; the more we try to avoid it, the more it controls us; the less we fear conflict, the less it confuses us; the less we deny our differences, the less they divide us.” – David Augsburger
  16. “There are two ways of meeting difficulties: You alter the difficulties or you alter yourself meeting them.” – Phyllis Bottome
  17. “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
  18. “Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” – William Ellery Channing
  19. “The aim of argument and of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.” – Joseph Joubert
  20. “Effective teamwork will not take the place of knowing how to do the job or how to manage the work. Poor teamwork, however, can prevent effective final performance. And it can also prevent team members from gaining satisfaction in being a member of a team and the organization.” – Robert F. Bales
  21. “Wild ducks make a lot of noise, but they also have the sense to benefit from occasionally flying in formation.” – Unknown
  22. “The art of living lies not in eliminating but in growing with troubles.” – Bernard Baruch
  23. “10% of conflicts are due to differences of opinion. 90% are due to the wrong tone of voice.” Unknown
  24. “In business, when two people always agree, one of them is irrelevant.” – William Wrigley
  25. “An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything.” – Lynn Johnston
  26. “Bullying consists of the least competent most aggressive employee projecting their incompetence on to the least aggressive most competent employee and winning.” – Tim Field
  27. “Workplace bullying–in any form–is bad for business. It destroys teamwork, commitment and morale.” – Tony Morgan
  28. “Michael, if you can’t pass, you can’t play.” – Coach Dean Smith to Michael Jordan in his freshman year at UNC
  29. “Conflict cannot survive without your participation.” – Wayne Dyer
  30. “Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.” – Jonathan Kozol
  31. “A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  32. “The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion.” – G. K. Chesterton
  33. “When people respond too quickly, they often respond to the wrong issue. Listening helps us focus on the heart of the conflict. When we listen, understand, and respect each other’s ideas, we can then find a solution in which both of us are winners.” – Dr. Gary Chapman
  34. “It’s like a lightning storm on a warm summer night; though the lightning itself may be scary it helps to clean the air. Negatively charged ions produced by the storm attach themselves to pollutants, which fall to the ground. That’s why the air smells so clean at times. The same is true when you deal with disagreements in an appropriate way.” – Mitch Temple
  35. “There is a psychological law that says: Appreciate and you prosper; belittle and you lose.Unless we learn to apply this law, as psychological as it is spiritual, we’re doomed to an existence of mediocrity, frustration, and defeat. Appreciation is no simple, vague theme. Appreciation is a real force. It is governed by a principle almost as direct as a law of physics: We draw to ourselves the good of everything we appreciate.” – David Goodman
  36. “To make life more bearable and pleasant for everybody, choose the issues that are significant enough to fight over, and ignore or use distraction for those you can let slide that day. Picking your battles will eliminate a number of conflicts, and yet will still leave you feeling in control.” – Lawrence Balter
  37. “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?” – Abraham Lincoln
  38. “I’ve always believed that a lot of the troubles in the world would disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other.” – Ronald Reagan
  39. “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” – Robert Frost
  40. “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” – Thomas Paine
  41. “If necessity is the mother of invention, conflict is its father.” – Kenneth Kaye
  42. “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” – Kenny Rogers
  43. “In one of our concert grand pianos, 243 taut strings exert a pull of 40,000 pounds on an iron frame. It is proof that out of great tension may come great harmony.” – Theodore E. Steinway
  44. “A large ocean liner was headed across the Atlantic from Portsmouth to New York. As it neared its destination at night, a lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, ‘Light, bearing on the starboard bow.’ ‘Is it steady or moving astern?’ the captain called out. The lookout replied, ‘Steady, captain,’ which meant that they were on a collision course. The captain then called to the signalman, ‘Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.’ Back came a signal, ‘Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.’ The captain said, ‘Send, I’m a Captain, change course 20 degrees.’ ‘I’m a seaman, second class,’ came the reply. ‘You had better change course 20 degrees.’ By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, ‘Send, This is the mighty ocean liner, HMS Franconia. Change course 20 degrees.’ Back came the flashing light,’ This is a lighthouse, suggest you change course 20 degrees.’ – Unknown
  45. “Conflict can destroy a team which hasn’t spent time learning to deal with it.” – Thomas Isgar
  46. “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.” – G. K. Chesterton
  47. “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you earn.” – Tom Brands
  48. “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.” – Will Rogers
  49. “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung
  50. “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  51. “There are three ways of dealing with difference: domination, compromise, and integration. By domination only one side gets what it wants; by compromise neither side gets what it wants; by integration we find a way by which both sides may get what they wish.” – Mary Parker Follett
  52. “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  53. “Always pass a plate of forgiveness before each verbal feast.” – Anabel Jensen
  54. “Our second phase was to develop a school curriculum that teaches tolerance, respect for differences, conflict resolution, anger management, and other attributes of peace.” – Eddie Bernice Johnson
  55. “Whenever two good people argue over principles, they are both right.” – Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
  56. “There should be an honest attempt at the reconciliation of differences before resorting to combat.” – Jimmy Carter
  57. “The courts of this country should not be the places where resolution of disputes begins. They should be the places where the disputes end after alternative methods of resolving disputes have been considered and tried.” – Sandra Day O’Connor
  58. “Don’t look where you fall, but where you slipped.” – Henry Ward Beecher
  59. “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – M. Scott Peck
  60. “Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.” – Benjamin Disraeli
  61. “In life, you don’t get what you deserve; you get what you believe, plan, and expect.” – Bill Bartmann
  62. “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” – Bertrand Russell
  63. “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
  64. “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.” – Dalai Lama
  65. “The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them.” – Thomas Crum
  66. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
  67. “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein
  68. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” – Harper Lee
  69. “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  70. “You can’t shake hands with a closed fist.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  71. “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” – Henry Ford
  72. “Conflict is inevitable but combat is optional.” – Max Lucado
  73. “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
  74. “To practice the process of conflict resolution, we must completely abandon the goal of getting people to do what we want.” – Marshall B. Rosenberg
  75. “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – R. Buckminster Fuller
  76. “Instead of suppressing conflicts, specific channels could be created to make this conflict explicit, and specific methods could be set up by which the conflict is resolved.” – Albert Low
  77. “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain
  78. “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin
  79. “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” – Albert Einstein
  80. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Solomon
  81. “Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.” – William James
  82. “Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with, the wind.” – Hamilton Wright Mabie
  83. “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” – Ambrose Bierce
  84. “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” – Benjamin Franklin
  85. “If you’re not listening, you’re not learning.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
  86. “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” – John Lubbock
  87. “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  88. “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  89. “Never cut what you can untie.” – Joseph Joubert
  90. “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” – Doug Larson
  91. “The secret to healthy conflict resolution isn’t taking a ‘you against me’ stance. The secret is realizing it’s ‘us against Satan.’ He’s the real enemy.” – Lysa TerKeurst
  92. “A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while, he knows something.” – Wilson Mizner
  93. “Peace is not merely the absence of visible conflict.” – Barack Obama
  94. “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie
  95. “Don’t fight forces, use them.” – R. Buckminster Fuller
  96. “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” – Indira Gandhi
  97. “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.” – Dorothy Thompson
  98. “Don’t let the sun go down on me.” – Elton John
  99. “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
  100. “The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  101. “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
  102. “There is no time left for anything but to make peace work a dimension of our every waking activity.” – Elise M. Boulding
  103. “Concrete, Steel & Paint portrays the core values of restorative justice—respect, responsibility, and relationships—expressed through art. It is art that involves victims, offenders, and communities in a dialogue that is sometimes difficult and painful, sometimes reconciling, but always engaging.” – Howard Zehr
  104. “Every cop will tell you that their real job is being a social worker. The large majority of police officers in this country never even draw their gun, let alone fire it. They do conflict resolution, right? And if that’s their job, why do they need to look like they’re an occupying force?” – Malcolm Gladwell
  105. “Only reverence can restrain violence – reverence for human life and the environment.” – William Sloane Coffin
  106. “Any time scientists disagree, it’s because we have insufficient data. Then we can agree on what kind of data to get; we get the data; and the data solves the problem.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
  107. “When you learn conflict-resolution skills in the playroom, you then practice them on the playground, and that in turn stays with you. If you have a combative sibling or a physically intimidating, older sibling, you learn a lot about how to deal with situations like that later in life.” – Jeffrey Kluger
  108. “All wars signify the failure of conflict resolution mechanisms, and they need post-war rebuilding of faith, trust, and confidence.” – Abdul Kalam
  109. “An act of love, a voluntary taking on oneself of some of the pain of the world, increases the courage and love and hope of all.” – Dorothy Day
  110. “Peace, however, is not merely a gift to be received: it is also a task to be undertaken. In order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development, and conflict resolution.” – Pope Benedict XVI
  111. “Research confirms that both Republican and Democratic women are more likely than their male counterparts to initiate and fight for bills that champion social justice, protect the environment, advocate for families, and promote nonviolent conflict resolution.” – Dee Dee Myers
  112. “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” – Benjamin Franklin
  113. “We have very stable mechanisms of conflict resolution in terms of labor relations, we have a very good transportation infrastructure, we provide our children with an excellent education, and the gap between rich and poor in Germany is relatively narrow.” – Angela Merkel
  114. “We visual communicators have so much good to share: rather than sharing our chemical and style addictions, we could be using our professional skills to help communicate health information, conflict resolution, democracy, technology.” – David Berman
  115. “Conflict resolution,’ said Nightingale. ‘Is this what they teach at Hendon these days?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ I said. ‘But don’t worry, they also teach us how to beat people with phone books and the ten best ways to plant evidence.” – Ben Aaronovitch
  116. “Satyagraha is the pursuit of truth. My grandfather believed that truth should be the cornerstone of everybody’s life and that we must dedicate our lives to pursuing truth, to finding out the truth in our lives. And so his entire philosophy was the philosophy of life. It was not just a philosophy for conflict resolution, but something that we have to imbibe in our life and live it all the time so that we can improve and become better human beings.” – Arun Manilal Gandhi
  117. “What I think we need to do is infuse everyday and every action with the kind of values we hope will be in the future, with kindness, with nurturing, with dreams, ambition, using your talents, not resorting to violence, other forms of conflict resolution, with humor, with poetry, with music.” – Gloria Steinem
  118. “The most constructive solutions are those which take into consideration the views of all persons involved and are acceptable to all. Such outcomes are the result of negotiation strategies where the needs of both sides are considered important and an attempt is made to meet all needs. These solutions are appropriately called Win-Win because there are no losers. While often difficult to arrive at, the process leading to such solutions builds interpersonal relationships, increases motivation and improves commitment. Win-Win solutions are the most desirable outcomes of conflict resolution.” – Gabor Peter
  119. “It is only the Somalis themselves – and I don’t hide that fact when I meet the political leaders here – they themselves have to stop their old practices of fighting each other every time they have a problem. They have to learn how to do peaceful conflict resolution.” – Jan Egeland
  120. “I support this proposal and agree with this great and important initiative to abolish militarism and war. I will continue to speak out for an end to the institution of militarism and war and for institutions built on international law and human rights and nonviolent conflict resolution.” – Mairead Corrigan
  121. “A simple equation exists between freedom and numbers: the more people, the less freedom.” – Royal Robbins
  122. “Trail conflicts can and do occur among different user groups, among different users within the same user group, and as a result of factors not related to users’ trail activities at all. In fact, no actual contact among trail users need occur for conflict to be felt.” – Roger Moore
  123. “Although our grammar schools are teaching a whole generation computer language to adjust to the technological needs of a Stage II [post survival-focused] society, we have neglected to teach this generation relationship language and conflict resolution skills to address the social and psychological needs of a Stage II society. And when it is taught, in countries like Germany, although called social competence it focuses on workplace teamwork – still on survival, breadwinner oriented work goals.” – Warren Farrell
  124. “He took over anger to intimidate subordinates, and in time anger took over him.” – Milan Kundera
  125. “Power in organizations is the capacity generated by relationships. It is an energy that comes into existence through relationships.” – Margaret Wheatley
  126. “When you realize you’ve made a mistake, make amends immediately. It’s easier to eat crow while it’s still warm.” – Dan Heist
  127. “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan
  128. “When you find yourself stuck in an oversimplified polarized conflict, a useful first step is to try to become more aware of the system as a whole: to provide more context to your understanding of the terrain in which the stakeholders are embedded, whether they are disputants, mediators, negotiators, lawyers, or other third parties. This can help you to see the forest and the trees; it is a critical step toward regaining some sense of accuracy, agency, possibility, and control in the situation.” – Peter T. Coleman
  129. “When you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict. And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue.” – Dolores Huerta
  130. “Conflicts may be the sources of defeat, lost life and a limitation of our potentiality but they may also lead to a greater depth of living and the birth of more far-reaching unities, which flourish in the tensions that engender them.” – Karl Jaspers
  131. “A solid rock is not disturbed by the wind; even so, a wise person is not agitated by praise or blame.” – The Buddha
  132. “Conflict can and should be handled constructively; when it is, relationships benefit. Conflict avoidance is *not* the hallmark of a good relationship. On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and of poor communication.” – Harriet B. Braiker
  133. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela
  134. “In case of dissension, never dare to judge till you’ve heard the other side.” – Euripides

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