Managing Workplace Conflict: Transforming Workplace Relationships

The Peer Power (Managing Workplace Conflict) Philosophy

"It's tempting to blame the slackers, the bullies, the whiners, and others for impeding your ability to get the job done. But blaming and attacking others won't produce the results you want. You can't force your peers (or your boss) to change. In fact, there is only one thing you can change about these situations: your own behavior."
- From Peer Power: Transforming Workplace Relationships


The Peer Power (Managing Workplace Conflict) training program and the book Peer Power on which it is based are grounded on the premise that everyone is worthy of respect, and that behind every bad behavior there is some internal need that is not being met. In ways that may be hard to see, one's own behavior may be influencing the situation. In fact, changing your behavior is the only way you can influence an outcome.

Based on those assumptions, the program shares practical steps that will end the recurrent conversations about how to change others and start transforming impossible situations into incredible successes.

Watch Cynthia Clay describe the inspiration for the Peer Power book and the Managing Workplace Conflict training program.

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Behavior Types

The program identifies nine negative behavior types that present challenges in the workplace. It is not concerned with simply "annoying" behaviors, but instead is focused on giving you tools to deal with behaviors that can have a detrimental impact on your performance. Of course, people are more complex than simple labels. We all exhibit a range of behaviors that could potentially place us into one or more of these negative categories. And even the most challenging people have many admirable traits and skills.

The About Them questionnaire helps identity which category a coworker might fall into.

To learn more about the behavior types, download our free ebook, Peer Patterns: Nine Behavior Types and How to Work with Them.

Principles and Strategies

The Peer Power (Managing Workplace Conflict) program revolves around four key principles:

  • Be Real: Be open and authentic rather than manipulative.
  • Take Responsibility: Choose to be accountable instead of whining.
  • Extend Respect: Treat people with kindness instead of resorting to personal attacks.
  • Build Relationships: Partner with others instead of bullying them.

The key to resolving difficulties is applying the right strategy at the right time. The more strategies we have in our arsenal, the better equipped we will be when any difficulty is too important to ignore. Peer Power (Managing Workplace Conflict) identifies five strategies, all based on the four principles, and demonstrates how each strategy can be used in specific case studies involving the nine behavior types. Resolving difficulties doesn't have to mean compromising (although compromising is one of the strategies).