Communication skills have always been a top priority for employers when hiring potential candidates. Therefore, it is no surprise that it has been reported that conflict management is the most in-demand soft skill among businesses hiring in 2019. Additionally, according to research completed by CPP Global, U.S. employers spend 2.8 hours a week engaging in conflict.

The ability to successfully handle conflict and communicate effectively enables employees to rise to leadership positions. “Those that know how to manage conflict and work through it do better than people that avoid conflict,” says Leeanne Bell McManus, Stevenson University Professor and co-author of Conflict Between Persons: The Origins of Leadership. Leeanne continues to note that stopping the communication flow, being aggressive, or taking it personally are the worst things you can do in a conflict situation. “Keeping the content central and leaving personal feelings out of it are key,” explains Leeanne.

More often than not as a society, we listen simply to respond and do not listen to understand the person’s point of view. In a conflict situation, it is important to actively listen and take in what is being said in order to come to an understanding and ultimately resolve the conflict. “In a conflict situation, if you do not know where they are coming from, you are dead in the water. You truly need to listen and understand their point of view along with your own. Think about how to make this situation better and not worse,” says Leeanne.

If you feel your conflict communication skills are rusty, education is the best way to sharpen them. Stevenson University Online’s Communication Studies master’s program not only provides a foundation of effective communication skills, it digs deeper and trains students in conflict communication. In the Conflict Communication and Leadership course, students will determine appropriate conflict resolution methods as leaders and learn how to manage conflict from the perspective of the leader. Upon completing the course, students will be able to successfully:

  • Assess different definitions of conflict
  • Differentiate conflict styles
  • Apply leadership concepts to various conflict situations
  • Evaluate how differing ethical positions generate conflict
  • Create various messages that respond to different conflict situations

For more information on Stevenson’s master’s in Communication Studies, contact us at or 1-877-531-7118.