When you handle conflict poorly—by overreacting to it, ignoring it, or avoiding it by failing to speak up with your concerns— it hurts your business and career opportunities. The yelling boss whom everyone complains about is no different from the silent screamer who fails to notify someone in authority of a problem. Both cause loss of customers, poor-quality products and services, and disregard for others.
As the leader, it’s vitally important to learn how to step up when no one agrees with you in order to make a difference! However, it’s more important to recognize when you are the cause of the conflict!
A long-term employee questioned her boss’s boss in front of her team. She didn’t understand why he wanted to move in a different direction when the facts didn’t support it. He didn’t know why either. Instead of admitting it and creating a win-win conversation, he took the bully approach and wanted her fired! She stepped up to the plate by having a one-on-one conversation with her boss after the meeting; then, coached him on how to have the necessary conversation with his boss about the direction he wanted to take. Because she was able to turn the disagreement into a constructive process, she was given a promotion and pay increase.
While you may want to fire those who do not rubber-stamp your ideas or get rid of your boss for not hearing your concerns, failure to listen to what you don’t want to hear creates conflict and consequences. The truth is, when employees speak up without fear of retaliation, they share great ideas and find hidden resources! It’s your job as a leader to uncover workable and win-win solutions. This means you need to get out of the way, listen to what you don’t want to hear and handle disagreements along the way.
3 Ways You Can Reduce Conflict
Honor Your Word. Little white lies build up over time, and others stop trusting what you have to say. When you’re a naysayer, you stymie a conversation before it begins because you’ve not listened to others in the past or don’t follow through on promises you’ve made! Before these upsets escalate beyond your control, listen and learn about the heart of the matter. While human emotions are rarely based on facts and change frequently, this doesn’t mean there is not value in them. Welcome others’ input by brainstorming ideas and creating win-win conversations to elicit workable resolutions. Then follow up and follow through to ensure intended results.
Listen to Others. You’ve lulled yourself into thinking, If it doesn’t matter to me it shouldn’t matter to others. As a result, you block out annoying suggestions made by your employees, even your bosses! Once the company has closed its doors or lost a big contract, these same employees dissect and voice what went wrong – including critiquing your behavior and attitude. Step up and be the leader others want to follow! Listen! And don’t just talk about it— take focused action steps to resolve it!
Maintain a Sense of Urgency. You have become adept at putting off handling issues as they arise, thinking you’ll handle them when you have enough time. However, that time never comes without more upset and conflict being created first. If you took the same amount of energy to resolve the problems that you use to deflect them, your business would flourish and your career would be unstoppable. Pose these three important questions to the right people now: What is the preferred outcome? What needs to happen? What can be done to resolve the issue? Handling issues as they arise will prevent conflicts from becoming long-term unresolvable elephants.
©Jeannette Seibly 2015
Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and facilitator for over 23 years; she guides the creation of new solutions for business challenges and is the author of over 300 articles and 4 books designed to help business leaders lead successfully. Check out her website: http://SeibCo.com or contact Jeannette at http://SeibCo.com/contact.