Leadership Has Never Been More Important

Everyone knows that tempers are shorter and flare up much more quickly in stressful situations. Leaders are working under greater stress today than they were a year ago, and that stress is leading to more conflict in the workplace. Stress testing your leadership skills can tell you and your colleagues a tremendous amount about your leadership skills. Your employees, colleagues, customers and shareholders have their eyes on you and it is more important than ever that they like what they see. It is “easy” to be a good leader in good times, but the true test of leadership is how you perform when the pressure in on, stays on and seems like it will never end. 

Conflict can always be resolved if you spend the time to truly understand all aspects of the conflict and have a set of tools or techniques that can help bring different interests and goals into alignment. The best result is a win/win outcome to the conflict, since conflict that is resolved with a winner and a loser has not really been resolved.

Before you get engaged in the conflict, it is important to decide this is one that is really worth winning. You may win the battle, but will eventually lose the war. You don’t have to win them all. Sometimes conflict seems unavoidable, but resolving it so all parties feel satisfied ensures that it won't recur over and over again.

Here are some tips and techniques that you may find useful:

1. Ask, don’t tell:Starting out by asserting your opinions and position won’t teach you anything about the other person’s perspective. You may be surprised to learn that you’re not actually all the far apart

Actively listen for common interests

Ask objective non-judgmental questions

Don’t interrupt or try to compete

2. Don’t get personal.  Explain your position, take responsibility for your position and try to avoid escalating the conflict by getting personal.

Talk about how the conflict is affecting you

Be respectful and don’t make accusations

Don’t decide how the other person feels. Ask them

Think about the other person’s interests. If you take a few minutes to understand the other person’s interests and how to shape the solution to satisfy these interests, you may find that fewer items that form the basis for the conflict.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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