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Have you ever experienced conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?

18 Answer Examples | Learn how to answer this question from professional recruiters

How to Answer
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 see that you respond to them with kindness and respect.

Talk about a time when your boss made a choice to which you did not agree. 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).

Admin
"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 viewpoint."
Attendance Clerk
"I avoid conflicts with my team members as I believe in clear communication whenever any issues are present. There is no reason to have tension in the workplace if you are honest, transparent and an effective communicator."
Autopsy Assistant
"In my career, I have had many different supervisors with different leadership styles. I did have one supervisor in the past that was new to being a supervisor. We may not have seen see eye to eye on everything but because of those differences we challenged each other and worked really well together."
Bacteriology Technician
"In my career, I have had many different supervisors with an array of personalities. I did have one supervisor in the past who was not the type of leader that I would have chosen for myself. We disagreed on occasion but nothing severe enough to affect my work performance."
Bank Compliance Officer
"Give the interviewer an example of your conflict resolution skills, past or future, i.e., how you have dealt, or would deal, with conflict at work - and what you would do to resolve the issues in a timely fashion. If you do not have any example in a professional situation, you can provide an example of conflict in volunteer capacity or university setting. Example 1: "I once worked with a supervisor who did not provide any timeline for the projects he assigned to me, yet became extremely agitated when I did not deliver within a few hours. As I had no idea he had such timelines in mind, I requested a meeting with him to tell him about my concerns and that I can absolutely adjust to tight deadlines, however I require prior adequate notice so that I can organize my days accordingly and delegate other duties if necessary. I also told him I cannot anticipate he would want something done right away upon receipt. He told me he did not realize he had provided unclear instructions and promised to be more clear in the future, which he were." Example 2: "No situation comes to mind, however I would remain professional and respectful, and seek to resolve the conflict in a timely manner. I would request a meeting with my supervisor so that we can calmly discuss our points of view and ultimately find a resolution. "
Basic
"I had a conflict with a manager earlier in my career. One of our team members skipped out on work six 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 had 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."
Behavioral Health Technician
"I had a manager who I didn't see eye to eye with so I scheduled a meeting with him to see how we could work better together. After our meeting, ​we realized that it was just a miscommunication and we soon developed a great professional working relationship."
Janitor and Custodian
"The interviewer wants to hear that you are a team-player and get along with everyone. Simply tell the interviewer that you did not have any problems with leadership in your last role, and you enjoy being a part of a team."
Manager
"One of my first bosses was very hard to get along with as his expectations were often unreasonable and would come with little explanation. I stayed with him for about two years and left when I knew I was no longer benefitting from his leadership. I did keep my head down for the most part, but the benefit came to me at a later time, when I took on my first management role. I knew what I did not want to be like and thus, the experience helped to shape my management style."
Marketing
"I had a boss that was incredibly skilled at his job but was overly direct. He led 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 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."
Medical Transcriptionist
"I have had a few times that my supervisor and I didn't see eye to eye on things but that's ok. They are in the leadership position and my role is to follow their lead. If the opportunity came up or I was asked my opinion I would give it."
Retail
"One of my first mentors shared with me a nugget of knowledge: if you're comfortable, you're not growing. So, I try to seek out opportunities for 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. When I lay out the reasons for the upgrades, 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."
Sales
"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 conflicted with the recommendations, which was a problem because I know some of my accounts specifically disliked those account managers. 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."
Technical Support Specialist
"It is okay if you have! In a perfect world, you may not have had difficulty with a supervisor. If this is the case, go ahead and share that you have not had any difficulty with your supervisors. Be sure to mention that if you ever encounter this during your career you will likely just talk to the person about your concerns. Interviewers love hearing that you will try to tackle the problem! If you have had difficulty, pick an example of a time when you took the lead on trying to improve the situation in a positive way. Did you sit down with your supervisor offering your perceptions of their performance? Did you ask for the supervisor to provide clearer communication? Did you ask for your supervisor to be present more often? Taking the initiative to start up a conversation like this can be daunting, and it shows the interviewer that you are open to working through conflict in a positive way."
Training Specialist
"As a trainer and a professional, I have found the best way to manage conflict is to approach it with humility and the intent to resolve the issue. Conflict and pain points are always opportunities to learn, grow and develop something stronger. It is rare, but there are times when I do not agree with my supervisor and I take the initiative to share my perspective and reach common ground. A relationship with mutual respect makes this easy to do well."
Underwriter
"What was your relationship like with your most recent supervisor? Assure the interviewer that you are able to take instruction well and that you show respect to your leaders in the workplace. Although, there are occasions that you may have had certain disagreements but try to project everything in a positive manner avoiding anything that might portray you as a difficult employee to work with. If you have not had difficulty with a supervisor: "My most recent supervisor and I had a strong work relationship and she will be willing to give you a strong reference on my behalf. We did not run into any difficulty while working together." If you did have difficulty with a supervisor: "In my career I have had many different supervisors with an array of personalities. I did have one supervisor in the past who was not the type of leader that I would have chosen for myself. We disagreed on occasion but nothing severe enough to affect my work performance."
Warehouse Clerk
"No situation comes to mind, however I would remain professional and respectful, and seek to resolve the conflict in a timely manner. I would request a meeting with my supervisor so that we can calmly discuss our points of view and ultimately find a successful resolution. "
Zookeeper
"What was your relationship like with your most recent supervisor? Assure the interviewer that you are able to take instruction well and that you show respect to your leaders in the workplace. If you have not had difficulty with a supervisor: "My most recent supervisor and I had a strong work relationship and she will be willing to give you a strong reference on my behalf. We did not run into any difficulty while working together." If you did have difficulty with a supervisor: "In my career I have had many different supervisors with an array of personalities. I did have one supervisor in the past who was not the type of leader that I would have chosen for myself. We disagreed on occasion but nothing severe enough to affect my work performance."

More Interview Questions

View 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.
59.
NO, I work well with people and follow directions well.
60.
No, I tried to keep it as frienly as posible, If a problem does arise,I try to handle it as professionally as possible to resolve the issue.
61.
No, I get along well with others and follow directions well.
62.
No. I try to keep it as friendy as possible. If a problem does arise, I try to handle it as professionally as possible to resolve the issue.
63.
Yes, lack of communication.
64.
No I must say I had a great relationship with all management.
65.
No, we had great communication,
66.
No, Igot along very well with my last supervisor.
67.
We all worked well together as a team. Strong communication skills on both sides.
68.
No, I try to keep it friendly as possible.
69.
It was good, they treated me good. And I worked really hard for him.
70.
No I never had any problems actually, I tried to make them as happy as possible by doing my job right.
71.
I found them cold and aloof- but I bear in mind, that they have heavy responsibilities, plus personalities and upbringing may factor in.
72.
No, I love them, was very pleasant working there.
73.
No,I have always followed directions and done my job.
74.
No, but did share my opinions with suggesstions which were considered.
75.
No I got alone with everyone.
76.
No I got along well with my last supervisor.
77.
No I had a very good working relationship with my supervisor and manager. I am very approachable and if I was in a situation where I had a problem, I had that bond and relationship to be able to work out any issues I had.
78.
No. Always has a good working relationship.
79.
No I take direction well.
80.
I have had a run in with a previous supervisor, I confronted him after we had an issue and worked out our differences and had a better relationship after that.
81.
Yes, was a communication issue which was solved.
82.
Yes. I disagreed about what was causing my performance to be subpar. I felt there was a problem on their end.
83.
Not at all we got along fine, good communication was a plus.
84.
I have never had a problem with a manager or supervisor, I believe there are only solutions and a mulitude of was to avoid a problem.
85.
No I got a long great with my past supervisor. In the time I was there he even made me the Line Lead. He knew he could depend on me and saw I was a hard worker, so he put me in that position. I am very grateful to him.
86.
No, because the management had their own Supervisor so I understood.
87.
There were a few times when we had disagreements but we would just go to into the office and talk them out and move on with our day. It was usually minor disagreements nothing major.
88.
No. I had no problems with my managers or supervisors at my previous job.
89.
Only one it was one of my supervisors because he would trait me unfairly and make fun of me on a personal level.
90.
No, I have never had an issue with a co worker.
91.
No they were good to me and I was good to them which made it easy and fun to work with.
92.
NO we got along great.
93.
No I have gotten along with all my past and present supervisors.
94.
No anything that came up I was able to discuss with my supervisors with no problems.
95.
No, I did not have any problems with my supervisors.
96.
I havent have any problem.
97.
No, I try to keep things as friendly as possible, plus I work really hard for her.
98.
This would be more on a working level than a personel level. Other employees not showing up for work and having to cover their areas while still having to do our own was the only difficulty we had with the supervisors.
99.
No. Our supervisors were very helpful and knowledgable in in this department. Understood the pitfalls and offererd strong encouragement that helped us get above the conflict.
100.
No. There was strong communication on both sides. We were on the same page and both worked together as a team to achieve the same goal.
101.
No, I did not have any problems. If I did I think I would handle them professionally.

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