How to Free Yourself From Conflict With Better Habits

WITH Dr. Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler


Does conflict have to be a part of doing business? It often seems unavoidable – something to be dealt with. But what if your work could truly be free of conflict? Today’s guest has a huge depth of experience helping people of all backgrounds create situations in which everyone wins.

Key Takeaways

When you find yourself being drawn into a conflict, stop and examine how you ended up there. Then think about something constructive that you could do differently.

About Dr. Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler

Dr. Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler is the Founder and CEO of Alignment Strategies Group, the New York-based consulting firm that helps CEOs and their executive teams optimize organizational health and growth. She is the author of OPTIMAL OUTCOMES: Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home, and in Life, which was selected as a Financial Times Book of the Month.

Jennifer is a keynote speaker at Fortune 500 companies, public institutions, and leading startups, including Google, Harvard Law School, and the United Nations. A former counterterrorism fellow with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, she earned her Ph.D. in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and has taught conflict freedom at Columbia for a decade.

Getting Free From The Conflict Loop

I’m sure you’ve experienced this too; You go to great lengths to resolve a conflict, but it keeps rearing its head again and again. Jennifer says that instead of trying to resolve the unresolvable, we should strive to fully free ourselves from it. 

It’s all about removing yourself from the conflict loop. This means examining some of your habits that may be drawing you into these situations. Often we blame other people or ourselves. We may even shut down in an effort to avoid confrontation altogether. Sometimes we even try to collaborate our way out of a conflict. All these lead to wasted time and energy as they seldom actually solve the problem.

Cultivating New Habits That Lead to Winning Situations

It’s not enough to just identify how you end up in conflict. It takes practice to learn to free yourself from it. Jennifer describes some proven strategies to look at conflict situations from different angles. When you get a better perspective on things, it is possible to build more empathy and discover solutions.

When we understand what people need and what they want, what their values – both spoken and unspoken – are, we can serve them best. Understanding this won’t just allow you to free yourself from existing conflict, it will help you avoid it in the first place.

What can you do to create win-win situations in your business? Which of the conflict habits do you find yourself in? Leave a comment below!

In this Episode

  • The four habits that lead to conflict [4:45]
  • Practices to overcome your conflict-creating habits [15:55]
  • The role of empathy in preventing and resolving conflict [20:42]
  • Finding clients whose values you can best connect with [29:38]


7:22“We use what I call our conflict habits. Those conflict habits interact with other people’s conflict habits and keep us locked in a pattern of interaction that becomes self-reinforcing and it’s very difficult to break free.”
31:54“One of the practices in this methodology is about not only how to manage and free yourself from conflict once it’s already occurred, but also how to prevent it from getting worse or even prevent it from happening in the first place.”
33:31“You can’t know if someone’s values are misaligned with yours unless you know what your own values are.”



Ryan Koral

Ryan Koral is an entrepreneur, producer and business strategist from Tell Studios, a video production agency with a big heart for authentic stories that build brands and inspire action. He’s a husband (mostly happily for like 16+ years), has 3 kiddos, and has an annoying – but infectious – laugh.

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