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  • Jilian Houghton

The Royal Rift: 5 Conflict Lessons & Takeaways

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

Whether you’re following every salacious detail surrounding the infamous royal rift or not, you’ve probably heard something about it. That is the power of conflict. Conflict can be captivating, educational, and even entertaining. After all, it is an integral part of any good story. However, in the workplace, we are not writing the plot for a gripping story. Conflict in working relationships all too often conflict becomes a roadblock, stopping our relationships dead in their tracks.

In the case of the Royal Princes, William and Harry, we can read about the damaging effects of harmful conflict in every headline they’re featured in. Anytime harmful conflict occurs a wedge is driven into a relationship. What began as speculation surrounding the royal brothers is much like our “water cooler gossip” or “spilling the tea” on office rumors. Whichever idiom you choose, it refers to the instance in our workplace when criticism and frustration are vented behind coworker’s backs creating harmful and inaccurate contexts in the minds of others.

Sadly, the royal family has not called us to allow us a chance to do a wedge removal session. But we can all gain some valuable insight when we’re on the outside looking in.

1. Paradigms will always skew our interpretation of events.

Paradigms are the lens through which we view the world and interpret everything happening around us. No two paradigms are exactly the same, therefore an individual’s reaction differs as well. And when you add in more relationships like spouses, parents, and co-workers those paradigm differences are compounded. The royal brothers may have both experienced many similar circumstances but they have very different interpretations and different reactions to the same events. Harry choosing to leave ‘The Firm’ while William stays to work from within.

2. Unresolved conflict creates sides.

As the media ramped up their coverage of the royal rift they began to pit one brother (or their spouse) against the other. The public began to be “Team Meghan” or “Team Kate”, and would weigh in on if Harry or William was in the right. Whether these headlines were rooted in a real existing conflict or not, we may never know, but it does illustrate a very real by-product of unresolved conflict. When wedges are allowed to fester dissension quickly follows. “Water cooler chats” and “working lunches” naturally become venting sessions that turn teams into two adversarial sides. Teams can quickly be completely divided as they feel they have to choose a side when there are two warring colleagues.

3. The court of public opinion will always be unpredictable.

Royal watchers and fans have flipped back and forth between which brother is justified in his actions or which royal family member is best equipped to handle this situation. Headlines range from hopeful to harsh and hurtful each week. The court of public opinion can be swayed and can be unpredictable. It is why juries are so integral to the justice system. When conflict arises you do not want to see your workplace conflict escalate to litigation nor do you want it to become central to the dynamics of your workplace culture.

4. Love, Money, and Power will not exempt you from conflict.

While we all wish there was a magic formula for life without conflict, that is not the measure of successful relationships. Successful relationships are those not defined by conflict. Conflict will always exist; when you add in love, money, or power it will magnify any conflict. If all three of those factors are involved? Then the Royal Princes were set to have a very real struggle when dealing with a falling out. In our professional roles, the complications of money and power magnify any workplace conflict.

5. You will get blamed for someone else’s mistakes.

Harry and William have both faced accusations from the media, the public, and one another. Harry has been the more vocal of the two brothers and therefore has been quoted more often in regard to the status of the current conflict. In an interview, he talked about many ways that the royal institution had failed himself and his wife. William as a very integral part of the institution was naturally a good figurehead for the media to lay blame. Whether William was actually a part of the failure or not, he was being held accountable. We do not know William’s role nor his exact feelings on this matter as he has not spoken out, but we can imagine what our own reaction would be. At some point in our professional life, we will be blamed for someone else’s mistakes. For many of us, this instantly makes our blood boil, the injustice and frustration of being held accountable for someone else’s shortcomings are infuriating. But it will happen, and that usually means not only does conflict occur but an immediate wedge is driven into the relationship because both parties feel wronged.

Wedges have many symptoms but most often there is dysfunction, dissension, despair, and even a departure from the relationship when it all becomes too much. Addressing conflict right away, using your human interaction toolbelt, will allow you to be the greatest asset to your team, company, and personal relationships as you put an end to a destructive wedge and create sustained positive change. We hope for the very best for these brothers and hope that somehow they are able to find a way to navigate their current conflict and move forward more harmoniously.


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