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Have you ever experienced conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?
Advice
Employers want to know that you are respectful of your leaders. While you do not always have to agree with your leader, the interviewer wants to know that you respond to them with kindness and respect. Talk about a time when your boss made a choice that you did not agree with. Explain how you responded. The key to successfully answering this question is to impress upon the interviewer that you are a respectful employee who treats others with dignity and kindness. If you are newer to your career, you can draw from a post-secondary example (Perhaps you had a conflict with a professor).
Answer examples
"I had a conflict with a manager earlier in my career. One of our team members skipped out on work 6 times in one month and I was always asked to cover their shift last minute. I was frustrated and could not understand why my manager wasn't just terminating the employee. I reacted hastily and the manager patiently reminded me that he had his reasons. He explained that he asked me to cover the shifts because he liked me and I was reliable. It turns out the absent employee was having serious health concerns and our manager was trying to be empathetic without disclosing the situation to our team. I felt terrible and learned that sometimes things aren't always as they seem. I apologized, and all was well."
"There are times when I have asked questions or brought up suggestions that challenged a boss or coworker. We resolved the matter with humility and the intent to resolve the problem while better understanding the opposing view point."
Sales answer example
"I have disagreed on many occasions with professors or bosses, but there have only been a few times where it has come to a head. One instance that comes to mind was regarding the distribution of my accounts when I was transitioning to another role. My boss had a plan that was in conflict with the recommendations, which was a problem because I know some of my accounts specifically disliked those account managers, which was frustrating, so we discussed. I laid out the reasons why I was upset and frustrated with the decisions he was making. He explained why he was making them, and in the end, we identified three accounts that could be switched around so that everyone was happy and the branch didn't lose any business."
Retail answer example
"One of my first mentors shared with me a nugget of knowledge her GM said to her early on: if you're comfortable, you're not growing. So, I try to seek out opportunities of small discomfort whenever possible. I keep a running list of things that I have identified as areas for improvement in the department, and bring them up tactfully with my boss. Generally, when I lay out the reasons for the improvements, she lets me tackle the issue. Occasionally she pulls rank and says no, and though it's frustrating, I know that she must know more than I do, so I bite my tongue and put my head down and get back to work."
Marketing answer example
"I had a boss that was incredibly skilled at his job, but was overly direct. He lead with tough love, and while that worked for him and some people, it did not go well with the graphic designer on our team. I tried to stick up for her and let him know that while his heart was in the right place, his approach wasn't effective and was really hurting her productivity. At first, it was a conflict because he felt insulted that I was questioning his management, but finally we were able to come to an understanding and he considered a new approach for her, and the employees in general. I was happy that I stood up for her in a tactful way and the department was better off as a result."

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User-Submitted Answers

Have you ever experienced conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?
1.
Yes there was a huge conflict between me and my teacher, once she stoped me in the middle of the school play ground and asked me to pull my skirt up beacause it was so chabby and I thought that it was a style... Hmm I understood her later when a grew up ...
2.
Once my teacher gave me a mark that I didnt feel was right so we went over my report and she gave me a higher mark.
3.
Yes I have. I told them how I felt in a firm yet respectable manner, and asked how can we find common ground.
4.
Yes . My boss rita, was a result oriented person. I was still learning the telling job and I used to make mistakes. She would come and ask me to rectify errors immediately and at first I didnt like it but as time went on, I learnt process and my error reduced and my boss became my friend.
5.
I have had a professor to refuse to grade my paper due to turning it in 15 mins late, but I was able to resolve the issue by simply communicating my reason for being late and ensuring that it would not happen it again.
6.
I don't think I have had a issue with any boss or professor, I am a nice girl. But If I ever do have a conflict I would talk to the person in charge to resolve the issue.
7.
To be honest, I've never had a conflict with any of my bosses.
8.
Yeah once I was handled in my previous company .... There were started one prob with se niour developer and testing team.. And I just clarified with all, y its happened.
9.
Early in my career, I got a job performance review with some comments that I disagreed with. I actively listened to my boss as she went over the review with me, and asked her for some time to consider her input before setting up a follow up meeting. It was resolved by taking that time to digest her perspective and my own, and then calmly talk about how my thoughts, and ask her how I could improve in the future. I ultimately realized that she was interested in my being successful, rather than being critical. In other words it was constructive criticism which I came to appreciate.
10.
No. Being that I have only recently turned 16 years old, I have never worked a real job before. This will be my first real job.
11.
I don't know that I have an example of a conflict that I have had. But I know that if one were to arise, the key to solving it is communication. If two people can talk through a situation, and come to an agreement, that will create the best possible outcome.
12.
I've had a conflict with a professor, and we talked it out .
13.
Yes, But since he the professor and as a student I should sorry and obey what should be done.
14.
Never a conflict we have had differing ideas on how to do something.
15.
Thankfully until the day of today I haven't encounter any conflict with any of my previous employers or professor. I always try to stay in track, do my work, finish my task before deadlines and always going above and beyond in everything I do.
16.
Conflicts will rise I view them as a learning experience and choice of words as we, l as approach.
17.
No I have never had conflicts with boss or professor.
18.
No I haven't. But if a case arises where I have to say or point out something, I will in an appropriate manner still respecting my superiors.
19.
Communication is the key to any conflict resolution so I strive to maintain a positive attitude and understanding as to the situation at hand.
20.
I had conflicts with my supervisor everyday. But that would be a healthy one.
21.
At that time I try to calm down and I will do my work properly. I will take my work as a challenge. I will do extra work. I will make boss happy.
22.
I honestly have never had a conflict with a boss or professor because I tend to get along with everyone.
23.
I have not had a conflict with a boss.
24.
No I did not face such surcometance.
25.
I've always been fairly easy to get along with. And don't often find conflict.
26.
Yes, I had a conflict with my ultrasound instructor one time and I was feeling very stressed and having a difficult time with balancing work, school and studying. I felt like my teacher was taking it out on me and taking it personally if I missed a question. I finally confronted her and communicated my thoughts with her. To my surprise my teacher admitted I was right about her.
27.
I would say a conflict I would say a difference in opinion or direction of work flow. At one point and time the Administrative Office processed and handle all Acquisitions Orders . During the reorg the decided to have and Acquisitions Group and removed all acquisitions for the Admin Office. Speaking with my boss they wanted to bring acquistion back down to the Administrative Office. With a skeletal crew meaning we did not have enough staff to take had the work load coming in. Even though the team had one on one with the boss. It was never resolved the issue still remains the same.
28.
Not Conflict but difference of Opinion about working style.
29.
We talk it out and work it out.
30.
Yes, open door policy. Thru communication.
31.
I cant say that ive ever had a conflict.
32.
Yes, we went for a coffee and talked out our diffrences and it was the best thing to do.
33.
I have not had a conflict, but if I had conflict, I would be calm, and understand his view first then I would explain what my opposing arguments are.
34.
Working, basically getting caught up in my work and not taking enough breaks.
35.
I have never had an issue with a boss or a professor. The biggest conflict I have ever had with a manager was an occasion where a client was disrespcted by a salesman, and my manager refused to acknowledge the clients concerns and immediatley sided with the salesman. At that point I felt disappointed that my manager had disrespcted a client who had a legitimate complaint. Though I did not intervene in the situation, as it wasn't my place to, I felt some inner conflict about the situation.
36.
I had a conflict with a boss who didn't keep the records everyone in the department was supposed to maintain about their work productivity. He told me all of the different reasons he would not be able to give me the data. Then he dumped it on my desk on his way out of the office.
37.
Yes. It was resolved by understanding his views and the importance of the issue. As a professional the conflict with the boss should be settled through talks and amendments.
38.
I generally don't have issues in this area due to my ability to understand the demands of task and the circumstances involved. I find becoming as cooperative as possible usually helps me to improve on the working relation required.
39.
Yes with my previous boss. I just came out with multiple solutions for the current problem and ended the conflict.
40.
Only if I think I am right I will question it but if it turns out I was wrong I would always say I am sorry.
41.
Never had a personal conflict.
42.
Yes, we sat down and exchanged expectations both ways. It worked out well.
43.
Yes, I refer to the policy and regulation.
44.
Presented my side listened to him.
45.
Yes. It was resolved through dialogue.
46.
Yes. My boss had a friendship with one of the reps on our team. And when the rep would do something out of line it was my job to discipline. My boss never agreed with my resolution. So we had a one on one meeting and I pulled up several reports showing how it affected the team as a whole and she sided with me.
47.
With a boss, no I have not. I have respect for my bosses and recognize they are above me for a reason and I want to learn from them. I generally get along with most people but I did have an experience a couple of years ago with someone I worked with. I asked if we could chat privately and we discussed the problem in a calm way which I believe helped our working relationship and friendship and was much stronger as we developed a new to communicate and had more respect for one another.
48.
Since we all do not think exactly alike, conflict will occur, I seek to understand that person understanding of the topic and determine if I have overlooked an issue. I would perform the task based upon my supervisor knowledge.
49.
Lab manager - started position at lab which she had been running for 30 years. Realized lab was not as organized as I would've liked, approached supervisor and suggested a reorganization of space and with her support I cleaned and organized entire lab. Allowed everyone to be more efficient and kept cleanlier lab appearance for random EPA inspections.
50.
I will done my best in work. I done my work properly.
51.
Yes, communicating with boss in a calm and respectful manner.
52.
Yes, when my manager didn't want to believe that we had a problem with meeting our requirements and cost targets.
53.
I have had a conflict with my boss regarding new business and that in my area and surrounding areas this was becoming a bit of an issue. It was resolved by having my boss come work with me and go to potential new business so he could see the obstacles - not that there is none, just not as affluent in this area as others.
54.
Scheduling. I had to explain due to doctors' appointments and/or important meetings.
55.
I have had a difference of opinions yes. I explained my reason for the difference of opinion but the bottom line is they were the boss so their was is the final say.
56.
I was absent for a test due to sickness and my parents didn't call the school to confirm the absence. So I told my teacher to call my parents and ask them so that I can write the test.
57.
I never experienced or come across such a problem but if I did I would apologize or avoid it from happening.
58.
I do not remember any such conflict by saying so, I am not trying to prove myself that I am very nice person, everyone has the way of thinking to resolve the issue there may be some differentiation.