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All human dynamics include the potential for conflict. Communication processes have deeply embedded in them all the elements of essential conflict. The acknowledgment of differences across the human community is a recognition that all conflict is normative. In healthcare systems, leaders must recognize this factor as an essential part of the expression of the leadership role. Therefore, understanding conflict, applying conflict resolution strategies in the leader's role, building approaches to addressing essential conflict, and resolving it are critical to effective leadership. Understanding the elements of conflict, the processes associated with managing conflict, and the characteristics of conflict resolution are outlined here as essential to the exercise of the leadership role at every level of the organization.