It’s 2021 and many leaders are still struggling with the same conflicts. Having influence with our teams and staff requires breaking the culture of reacting to or avoiding conflicts. This year’s Bold leaders will be those who can look for and find answers to the conflicts they face on the job both outside of and within themselves.
Reflecting on one’s actions, thoughts, beliefs and their roots is what I call a reflection response. Bold leadership requires viewing and responding to some of the most common conflicts in ways that show you understand both the nature of conflict and where the answers really reside.
I’m sharing with you how Bold leaders respond to some of the top conflicts they are handling these days.
1.Cultural Differences Conflicts
Culture plays a distinct and big role in how we do things, what we think, believe, hear and see and yet not enough attention is paid to it. If your team/brand family is in conflict around work styles, some of this can stem from cultural differences and can hold up productivity, prevent cohesiveness and at the same time go undetected, because of assumptions and lack of knowledge.
Bold Response: Be committed to leading a diverse team/brand family and state that as a purposeful intention of yours, because of all the good it brings to the company/brand. Acknowledge the work that it will take to find ways to build a harmonious team that works well together and then set up a conversation to talk about work styles and their relationship to culture. Consult expert materials, podcasts, conversations to prepare yourself and to use as resources with the team/*brand family.
Reflection Response: Be honest with yourself about your own knowledge in this area. Reflect on your fears about taking this on and why they come up for you. Breathe and then decide on a first step for the conversation.
Sometimes people just don’t get along, they’re just a bad mix and sometimes it is just a clash of people who have no conflict resolution skills. Either way, these conflicts hold up productivity, build resentment and create an unpleasant work environment.
Bold Response: Make sure that your conflict resolution skills are up to par. If not, seek expert help. In the meantime, bring the people in conflict together and mediate the conflict. Help them put solutions in place and make sure there is a plan to revisit this and discuss progress and any setbacks.
Reflection Response: Be honest with yourself about how conflict makes you feel and where those feelings come from. Think about ways to relieve the stress it causes for you and for your team/brand family. Tell yourself that you will do everything you can to not only be skilled at resolving conflict, but to learn to embrace it as a natural part of business and leadership.
3.Social Media Revenge Conflict
We are living in a time where people can use the platform and power of social media to vent their dissatisfaction with anything and anyone they feel wronged by. So, what happens when someone who used to work for you takes to the internet to complain about you?
Bold Response: Commit to not being held captive by the threat of someone “ruining your reputation” or bad-mouthing you. Know who you are, who your company/brand is and stand by that. Respond to their complaint with an invitation to listen and correct what you can if it can and needs to be corrected. Remember that every attack does not deserve or need a response so if the attacks continue, measure your responses and then be clear when you are no longer engaging. Commit to learning from any mistakes made and then go back to doing your important work in the world.
Reflection Response: Breathe. Three-second belly breaths in and three-second belly breaths out. Do this five times. Relax your shoulders, tune in to where there is tension and breathe into those parts of your body and ask the tension to release itself. Notice the irrational fears that are surfacing within you and remind yourself of the good work you do and the people who have your back. Commit to no longer giving this your attention once you are done responding.
4.Gossip and Complaints Behind Your Back
This is not about social media, this is about folks sitting in the meetings or having conversations with you and assuring you that everything is going fine with them and the work. In reality, you find out that they are actually creating a toxic environment by gossiping about you and/or others and complaining about the work, the culture, and most especially you.
Bold Response: You have to get right to it and speak directly about this to the people who are engaging in this behavior. Be clear about the company/brand culture that is being built and provide an opportunity for them to offer up their complaints to you. Be firm about what is not acceptable or useful, specifically gossiping and not directing complaints to you. Set clear boundaries and expectations for future behavior and keep your ear to the ground without micro-managing.
Reflection Response: Set some silent time to get grounded in your purpose and the kind of culture you are determined to create. Tune in to the possibility that you are giving off the vibe of someone who is not approachable and to be feared. Think about who might give you objective insight on this.
Traditional ways of looking at conflict as something to avoid or stamp out are on their way out with the old. Breaking culture by studying ourselves in conflict as a means to respond to and help others is one of the best ways to bring in the new.