People often state that dealing with conflict is something they like least in that professional lives.
Why is that?
It's because people often relate to conflict as something that's emotional.
We all know that when conflict isn't handled effectively, it's very easy for people to feel misunderstood or neglected or confused and emotions emerge, whether that's anger or frustration or fear.
I'm going to share with you three central messages that will ensure that you have tools and an approach for dealing with conflict in a very constructive way:
Be tough on the issue but not on the personUnderstand that conflict is natural where there are two human beings or more and it's not something that has to be avoided If you're somebody who's known to be able to deal with conflict productively, you will increase your ability to impact and influence others
Be tough on the issue but not on the person
Approach conflict in a productive positive way and focus on the conflict issues themselves rather than make comments about the person. Saying things like ‘well you didn't do what you said you would do’ or ‘that was really lazy’ are not useful if you want to build strong working relationship, produce results and succeed at work. It is more likely to cause the conversation to go into gridlock.
If you focus on the issue and ask questions like: ‘what can we do to handle this situation?’ or ‘how can I support you?’ are much more useful ways of approaching exactly the same situation.
Understand that conflict is natural where there are two human beings or more and it's not something that has to be avoided
Many people go out of their way to avoid conflict because it has that emotional component and can lead to unpleasant situations. When this happens and when avoiding conflict becomes your normal way of operating, that can have big consequences for you, your team and your organisation. Why? Because you’re stifling self-expression. People might get upset and leave or you might just miss some really good ideas and really good potential innovations because people are scared to speak up.
You want to be able to give a lot of space to other people so that they can be themselves and at the same time make sure that your needs are met as well. Very often the best ideas come out of conflict, the best innovations, the best creativity, the best thinking.
Because everybody's had a chance to speak and say what they have to say and all of that information gets factored into resolving the problem at hand. The ensuing solution is often way more comprehensive, way more creative, way more thought through because it's had way more input.
If you're somebody who's known to be able to deal with conflict productively, you will increase your ability to impact and influence others.
If you're seen as somebody who welcomes conflict, who works productively with conflict and works through conflict to the benefit of everybody involved, you can be someone who really is known to be impactful and known to be able to influence others. The result is that people will come to you for advice. They'll come to you because you are somebody who listens and somebody who they can talk to and work through what they're dealing with rather than hide away.
These are three key steps to make sure that you engage with conflict in a constructive and productive way. I’d love to hear about how you deal with conflict in these challenging times.
Until next week...