Disagreements and debate at work are healthy. Fighting is not. That’s because fighting with one’s boss is just as confusing and destructive as fighting with a powerful family member.
Fighting with a colleague feels like fighting with a friend or a sibling. Fighting with people who have more or less power than we do feels like bullying.
Naturally, we have to learn to deal with aggression at work. But first, we need to understand the real sources of conflict—not the textbook “struggle over resources” issues—but the underlying psychological reasons why people fight. Then, we can develop ways to engage in conflict that keep us sane, help others, and hopefully support the organization.