Victor Ndukwe
4 min readDec 10, 2022

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Embracing conflict (as a Product Manager) in the Workplace — a personal experience.

Embrace conflicts more than the consequence of having none.

Hi my friends, welcome to Victor’s Vibe — a collection of well curated pieces to drive my train of thoughts home. I hope I don’t get you derailed in the process.

How about that for an intro? Honestly were you impressed? I’m practicing the perfect intro for my blogposts and I would love you to tell me if you loved the train pun.

But, I digress.

Recently, I was cruising around with an AI powered Telegram bot that has been trained to answer any question you ask. A very powerful tool if you ask me, and to be candid, we haven’t explored the full potential of Telegram yet.

As I normally would, I started asking the bots very interesting questions and it was providing me with equally interesting, not totally correct answers.

Open AI accidentally suggesting a path of focus for me.

The cruise continued and I was really being intrigued by how humans can train machines to be this intelligent. Then I asked a question many would consider me cruising as always, but it was something I’ve always struggled with.

A little backstory here.

I have a trait, one I could consider toxic upon introspection and that trait is me being too peaceful to a fault.

Here’s what I mean, I shy away from conflicts, I hate being confrontational and I have a culture of letting things that should be addressed slide a little too much .

It never used to be a problem cos it meant me staying off whatever would cause issues between me and a third party and I didn’t consider it a terrible thing until recently when I got a job as a Product Manager. As a PM, I’m tasked with the job of managing a development team to build products, say No to feature requests and take responsibility for the failure or success of that product.

Back from my digression.

Transitioning from being a freelance Digital Marketer to Managing products and processes in a corporate firm has been a bumpy ride, one I’ll share in my coming posts.

For me, the greatest challenge of this transition so far has been in the area of people management. Having to manage the development team to build and improve new/existing features of a product within a specific timeline is such a taxing one and it comes with disagreements, conflicts and pushing back just to get the work done. This is where my ugly trait comes up. I hate dealing with humans and their ‘humanness' as it relates to work, but if I have to get the work done, I have to embrace this.

Upon introspection and learnings, I’ve come to understand that I’m not particularly scared of conflicts, I’m just scared of ruining the relationship we have that’s needed after the conflict cos I don’t know how to easily move past one.

And as a product manager, it is important to be able to effectively navigate and resolve conflicts in the workplace in order to maintain productive working relationships and achieve your project goals.

Knowing how important it is to unlearn this trait, I’ve been actively putting effort into getting better at embracing conflicts and I had to ask my new found buddy — Open AI Bot — if it had any tip for me. Here’s what was shared.

Tips as shared by Open AI on how to embrace conflicts.

Beautiful response, don’t you think?

In my quest for improving my conflict resolution game, here is a summary of my key learnings so far. I’ve learnt to:

  • View conflict as an opportunity for growth and learning. Conflicts can provide valuable insights and feedback that can help you improve your work and your team’s performance.
  • Stay calm and maintain a positive attitude. Responding to conflict with a level head and a positive attitude can help de-escalate the situation and make it easier to find a resolution.
  • Communicate openly and honestly. Be clear and direct in your communication, and listen actively to the other person’s perspective. This will help you understand their point of view and find common ground.
  • Focus on the issue, not the person. Avoid getting personal or attacking the other person, and instead focus on the issue at hand and finding a solution that works for everyone.
  • Be willing to compromise. In some cases, it may be necessary to compromise in order to find a resolution to the conflict. Be open to different perspectives and ideas, and be willing to make concessions in order to move forward.

I’ve imbibed these points in my daily interactions at the workplace and it’s been super helpful. And fun fact, it’s also been useful for me in my personal relationships off work.

If you read to this point, I hope you found this long winded post insightful and I didn’t lose you on the tracks.

Stay conflicted!

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