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Dana Beal, International Speaker, Author and Coach

The Remedy for Conflict in the Workplace and the World: LOVE

By Danna Beal, M.Ed.
International Speaker
Author and Coach

See all this Month's Articles

Original Publish Date: April 6, 2021

The Zags, the remarkable Gonzaga men’s basketball team, is moving into the Final Four in the NCAA championship tournament. As a Washingtonian, with Spokane as my hometown, I am excited for the Zags! I also keep reading and hearing about how happy, committed, and confident the players are during the games. These young men have described themselves as genuinely liking one another and sincerely supporting each other to win the games. They don’t let their egos get in the way, and instead, play to everyone’s strengths. The harmony and teamwork shown by the Zags can be an impressive example of what is needed in the workplace culture.

Conflict in the workplace, as well as families, communities, and the nation, blocks the teamwork and harmony we want in the workplace culture. Conflict and mental health issues are on the rise. Employee Assistance Programs are trying to meet the demands. But treating the symptoms is not changing the culture where the real problems exist. The responsibility for transforming workplace culture resides with leadership. Respect and true affinity for one another starts from enlightened leaders operating from universal love, the basic and powerful force that unites human beings.

We often use the word love indiscriminately: "I love my house, my new outfit, the movie I saw, the dinner I had, the new car I bought, or the places I have visited.” But we hesitate to use the same word about our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends, or especially our enemies. Too often, we hold back love and refrain from expressing our affinity for others. And when someone disagrees with us or does something that we find unacceptable, we can actually feel hostile toward that one or that group of people. This resulting conflict of these contradictory views in the workplace is a toxic environment while, on a bigger scope, the outcome in the country is a divided nation. Conflict is seen, heard, and felt frequently. Blaming others is not the remedy. The antidote to conflict is the wisdom of universal love. The path to harmony is not in overcoming others, but conversely, in finding that we are more alike than we are different.

Examining conflict and our own part in creating the discord that blocks teamwork.

I suggest we ask ourselves the following questions and consider these possible viewpoints.

  1. Why do I identify so strongly with my beliefs?
    I am not my beliefs. My beliefs are just my thoughts and opinions that I believe to be true. I hold them often so tightly that if someone has an opposing view, I feel it as a threat to my very power and self-worth. But even this sense of attack on me is just another reaction based on my opinion.
  2. Why do I have to be right and feel superior to others?
    My need to be right and overcome others’ opinions only causes them to feel backed into a corner in which they feel must come out fighting. Our need to be right has escalated the conflict. They have a right to their opinion even if it differs from mine.
  3. Why do I make enemies, either at work and/or in our national politics?
    When I can see that I assign the role of enemy to anyone, any group, or circumstance that threatens my identity or sense of safety, then I can experience personal freedom. A perceived enemy is a mirror reflecting our inner fear. Blaming others weakens us.
  4. Can I slow down long enough to find clarity?
    The culture of being busy, dealing with constant information such as email, texts, the internet, social media, and the news has become overwhelming and has caused a frenetic society. Bringing mindfulness, calm, and presence to every situation is the path to clarity and resolution. It is also the only way we can align with the power of love.
  5. Can I face my greatest fear, weakness, doubt, or sense of unworthiness?
    Great leaders have the trait of introspection and personal responsibility. They have the humility to be wrong and to admit their shortcomings. This takes great courage and is contrary to what many think is required in strong leadership.

The culture starts at the top and enlightened leaders throughout history who have led successful organizations, movements, and countries, take full responsibility for losses—not blaming issues on scapegoats and fall guys. Leaders create wins but accept responsibility for losses.

The remedy of love and acceptance.

Love, in the truest universal sense, is the most powerful force in the universe. It shines on everyone and resides in all people. When in alignment with love, we are energized and empowered to make new discoveries and accomplish great feats. Love is not a weakness. On the contrary, love is the power that sustains all life. It is masterful and imaginative. Imagination stems from the wellspring of creativity - which is the source of genius itself. When we align with love, we align with the power to move mountains, the strength to stand in truth, and the gentleness to feel compassion for all living things.

How do we align with love?

  1. Have an open mind.
    A closed mind can never learn anything new. It stops discovery, innovation, and creativity. Be open to others’ opinions and desires. Listen to others rather than offering your opinion first.
  2. Notice the constantly chattering mind and start to recognize you are not your thoughts.
    The mind is often on autopilot and is thinking all the time. You even argue with the thoughts in your mind. See them as habits of thinking and recognize that you don’t have to believe them.
  3. Notice the slightest irritations with others.
    Sometimes the smallest disagreements of different opinions can trigger us to want to be right and overcome the other person or group. Can you notice that the issue is not that important or might even be trivial and doesn’t really matter?
  4. Respect the right of others to have their own opinion.
    You will never change someone’s mind by blaming or saying they are wrong. Demonstrate your own beliefs through your actions, not your words. Be an example of love and practice compassion and forgiveness.
  5. Notice how often and what you are complaining about.
    The ego is constantly complaining about everything—the weather, the traffic, the news, the others, politics, or some irritable circumstance. This is the ego’s clever way to make you superior, the one who knows more, and the one who is always right. Try to notice and then stop complaining. Feel gratitude for all that is right rather than your perceptions of what is wrong.
  6. Never underestimate the ego’s ability to run the show.
    The ego is so crafty it will try to say things to you that will validate your faulty thinking. Your ego may play the role of the exalted one or the smartest one in the room. Or less easily recognized, the ego may be the self-righteous victim, the unfairly treated, or the underdog. These shadow personalities are barriers to your true birthright of joy, creativity, and peace. Your ego can justify anything. It takes great perseverance to not be tricked by your own ego.

Join me in Project Illumination, dedicated to bringing light and love, individually and collectively, to the workplace, to families, to communities, and the world. One by one, we can heal the dissension between human beings with kindness, honor, and respect for one another. We have the opportunity, as leaders, to create better cultures in the workplace and the world. Go Zags!

Danna Beal, M.Ed., lives in the Seattle, WA area where she is an international speaker, author, retreat/workshop leader, and executive coach. She has spoken to thousands of businesses and conferences and has been on countless radio shows, podcasts, and webinars discussing “Enlightened Leadership” and “Workplace Culture” based on her book, “The Extraordinary Workplace: Replacing Fear with Trust and Compassion.” Her audiences and clients have included: Seattle Science Foundation--Spine Surgeons Grand Rounds, Swedish Hospital and Medical Groups, Kaiser Permanente Grand Rounds, Oakland, CA, AHRA, Orlando, FL, Federal Aviation Administration, Overlake Hospital Perioperative Conference, Radia, numerous physician practices and hospitals. Her website is