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Conflict Management

1 min
leadership  ✺  career  ✺  manager  ✺  conflictmanagement  ✺  emotionalintelligence

Conflict is a concept that gets a bad rap within the workplace.

Early in my career, I held the belief that conflict had no place in a healthy workplace.

As I progressed, I realized that it’s actually quite the contrary. In fact the lack of conflict isn't a sign of a healthy work culture, rather it is an indication that important debates, discussions and differing viewpoints are being disregarded or suppressed.

This insight revealed another key aspect to me: high-performing teams do not shy away from conflict. They actually embrace it, leveraging diverse opinions to drive optimal outcomes on behalf of customers.

What sets these teams apart is their ability to handle conflict in a constructive manner.

So how can this be achieved?

I reached out to my friend Andrea Stone, Leadership Coach and Founder of Stone Leadership, for some tips on effectively managing conflict in the workplace.

Here's the valuable guidance she provided:

1. Pause: Take a moment to assess your feelings in the heat of the moment. Be curious about your emotions, resist immediate reactions and take the time to understand the why behind your feelings.

2. Seek the Other Perspective: Engage genuinely, listen intently, show real interest, and ask pertinent questions. Remember to leave your preconceived judgments at the door.

3. Acknowledge Their Perspective: Express your understanding of their viewpoint. If their arguments have altered your perspective, don't hesitate to share this with them.

4. Express Your Viewpoint: If your opinion remains unswayed, seek permission to explain your perspective and experiences. Remember to speak from your viewpoint using "I" statements.

5. Discuss the Bigger Objective: Identify common grounds and goals. Understand that each person might have a different bigger picture in mind. This process can be taxing, so prepare beforehand. In prolonged conflict situations, don't hesitate to suggest breaks to refresh and refuel mentally, physically, and emotionally.

6. Know Your Limits: If the issue at hand is of significant importance to you, be aware of your boundaries. For those familiar with negotiation tactics, be sure to know your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement).

7. Finalize Agreements: Once an agreement has been reached, continue the engagement to agree on responsibilities and timeframes. This ensures clarity on the outcome and commitments made.

Constructive conflict is healthy! Remember to be self-aware, practice the changes you want to make, and most of all be kind to yourself.

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