Conflict, when it isn’t handled well, can sap a team’s energy and derail results, all the while driving up bad feelings and frustration. Good leaders know that conflict can be healthy, but it must be managed well, or else it will dissolve into gossiping and behind-your-back tactics designed to even up scores.
Why are people so difficult? What can we do about them?
There is one super concept that I want to share with you, but although the idea is simple, it is still very, very powerful. It also requires some thought by you.
Before I give you this simple idea, I want you to step back a little and be strategic for a moment. When we are dealing with all people, what is our goal? Our goal is to increase teamwork and collaboration. I say this because, as leaders, we can only achieve with others and through their efforts. So, if this is true, then we should be increasing the number of things we have in common and reduce differences. The number one concept for dealing with conflict is:
Change your attitude. All behaviour has an element of good intentions driving behaviour. This might be hard for you to know what that can be, given that they are driving you crazy, but we all behave with good intentions, don’t we? The major features in any conflict situation are your reaction to it and your response to the person’s behaviour. Therefore, if you change your reaction to their behaviour, they stop being difficult around you. Sounds too simple, right? True. At first sight, this advice seems too slick and easy. However, you will also know how difficult this can be to pull off, if we are unaware of our reaction to their behaviour.
Here are 3 Steps to get you on your way:
1. Know what you want from this person.What I mean is: know what you really want, not what you don’t want. When we focus on what we don’t want, we get more of that, instead of what we really want. So, step back and be strategic with this person. Know what you really want and you are more likely to get that.
2. Pay attention to the behaviour of this person and think about what their needs are right now, driving this behaviour. Are they task-driven right now? Do they just want the bottom line from me and I’m not ready for that? Or, are they seeking attention from me and they want some form of recognition of their work right now?
3. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Be prepared to consider that they are not being difficult. Nobody intends to be difficult with the same person all the time and so you should be prepared to be flexible.
Have your best week ever
Mervyn Murray is an International Leadership Development Specialist and Keynote speaker.