Gabe Karp | Getting Comfortable with Conflict

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Gabe Karp | Getting Comfortable with Conflict

Gabe Karp

Posted on May 25, 2022

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“Conflict is the hallmark of progress, success and happiness when you deal with it well.” — Gabe Karp 

My guest this week is Gabe Karp, former trial attorney, venture capitalist, speaker, and author of Don’t Get Mad at Penguins and Other Ways to Detox the Conflict in Your Life and Business. After ten years as a trial attorney, Gabe joined the startup ePrize, now Merkle, which became one of the leading companies in the digital promotions industry. He is an operating partner at Detroit Venture Partners, is a venture partner at Lightbank, a Chicago-based venture capital firm, and serves on the boards of multiple companies. Gabe draws on his 30 years of experience as a litigator and corporate executive to help companies and leaders better manage – and even embrace – conflict. 

In our conversation, Gabe and I talk about making anger and conflict work for you. Gabe believes conflict is an opportunity to grow and drive transformation, both internally and within an organization. Rather than running away from it, Gabe has found that it’s often better to instead stop and look at conflict as an opportunity. Having often found himself having to navigate conflicts that arose in the companies where he worked, he began to develop ways to address it. Addressing conflict in a healthy way takes some conscious effort because it means overcoming our natural survival instincts of fight or flight. Instead, Gabe teaches us to find a middle ground and to embrace conflict, explaining that navigating healthy conflict is when growth occurs. Managers and leaders can embrace conflict by learning tools to manage their anger – and others’ anger – and by practicing ways to give feedback and encourage growth rather than add to toxic forms of conflict. 

In this episode of Leading with Genuine Care, you’ll also learn:

  • The difference between healthy and toxic conflict 
  • What the “shopping list voice” is and how to use it to help give feedback to reduce tension
  • What happened on the movie set of Kill Bill 2 that illustrates the impact of bully-like behavior 
  • How even a small lie can affect a relationship down the road  
  • What toxic judgment is and how it can affect interpersonal relationships as well as inhibit progress 
  • What humility looks like in a leader and why it’s important 
  • How avoidance just makes things worse
  • Why how we respond is a choice we can make  
  • How his attorney father, who worked in the civil rights movement in the South in the 1960s, demonstrated how to embrace conflict and difficult moments 

Connect with Gabe Karp 











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