Presidential Conflict | Online Education

Conflict can be good for an organization, but not when it is as long, drawn-out, overly personal, and in the public spotlight as the Democratic contest between Hillary and Obama has been. No, there comes a point when organizations must say, “Enough is enough, kids. You, put down the fork. You, put down the scissors.” Conflict, when taken to excessive levels, can hurt an organization.

Meditate momentarily on the tale of Obama and Clinton. Both have the potential to “make history.” Both represent the values of their party (and let us not forget that’s what these primaries are about: picking a candidate that will ensure the party’s interests in the White House and, oh yeah, actually get elected). Coming into the primaries, the Democratic Party had a huge amount of momentum over the Republicans. Now that the applause, the speeches, the rolling victories of January and February have faded, we still find Obama and Clinton grappling doggedly. We also find much of their party’s momentum has been sapped away. It is now very likely that the Democrats will face a fairly even contest versus the GOP come November. Conflict has wasted their advantage.

Let this serve as an allegory for any company, family, government, or political party. Conflict has to be controlled. You can’t let it go on for long periods of time. You can’t let it become personal. Especially, you must do it in private. No organization benefits from personal, public, and prolonged conflict. If you are in the midst of a spat with a co-worker, work it out quickly and stay away from personal attacks.

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