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Conflict Resolution Tips and Blog

Why Bold Leadership Leads People Into the Storm

A friend reached out to talk with me about a powerful leadership opportunity that had been handed to her unexpectedly. She signed on to be second in command but was suddenly handed the job of head leader in charge. She was afraid, but gong forward anyway. She reached out, because she knew that she was walking into a storm and she wanted to develop a leadership strategy for navigating it and making sure that everyone not only survived, but thrived under her leadership.

Bold leadership recognizes the need to choose to lead into and through the storm.

In the last few months, hurricanes have been wrecking havoc and changing livelihoods and lives everywhere they have hit. Even with preparations, tremendous damage still gets done and people look to leaders to help them through. Unfortunately, in business when it comes to conflict, most leaders are not prepared at the start and often let it build into a storm and then are left to watch as it grows into a full blown hurricane. At this point, most leaders want to run and hide or at least go someplace and scream, “Why Me????”

Getting to the other side with everyone intact and ready to sail the ship to safe, happy and productive shores together requires a leader who knows how to L.E.A.D.I.N. to the storm.

Level With Yourself. You are in a storm, there is no getting out of it because as the leader, unless you inherited it you likely played a role in causing it. Whether you avoided it or ignited it, it is happening on your watch and now
you have to not just handle it, but handle it with skill. Admit your fear to yourself. Conflict is scary. Few people like it, most avoid it and now that you know where you are, it’s time to level with yourself about something else.
How much do you really know about going forward straight into conflict and making it better and not worse? As leaders, our skill level in this area varies and being truthful with yourself is the first step. Do I need some real
expertise to advise me? Coaching, courses or a mentor? If none of this is available and the moment is right now then…

Embrace Resistance. Understand that both relief and resistance usually exist within a storm. People are afraid, angry, resentful, confused, unsure and a whole host of other emotions and they are tossing them all in your
direction. As much as they want the conflicts involved to be resolved, they also have their own reasons for holding on to their way of participating in them. By embracing resistance, you are fully expecting it and can prepare
yourself to listen through it to what is happening on a deeper level for people. Resistance isn’t personal against you, but is personal for those involved. They need their questions answered, their fears heard and their
requests validated through deep listening.

Account For Your Own Actions. Resolving conflicts in the midst of a storm requires leadership to be able to look within to where your triggers lie and prepare yourself to be triggered because your staff, your team or your
colleagues are in reaction mode and leadership needs to be ready to respond rather than react. Being triggered will cause us to react, understanding our triggers and their roots puts us on the road to being calm enough to prepare an appropriate response. If as the leader you are confronted with how your actions contributed or even blew stuff up, consider the possibility that there is truth there, perhaps you got triggered, if so own it and begin to….

Determine a Course of Action. Looking at the damage done and going for the easier fixes first can only be successful if you start to work on a course of action to resolve the larger conflicts. Involve all voices and consider as
many solutions as possible before you determine the plan to move forward together.

Implement Your First Set of Actions. Leading transparently throughout the storm is critical to keeping everyone on board, together and connected to you, each other and the solutions proposed. Clearly you are the leader and
if you want them to follow, they need you to let them in on as much as you can about what the plan is and how it will be implemented and their importance in it.

Navigate, Negotiate, Navigate. It’s a dance even if you don’t like conflict or dancing. You take a few steps forward and one step back. Everyone is not going to like everything, but being the Bold Leader that you are, listening and negotiating your way through the more difficult issues allows you to find out what is in the way and reshape the plan so that you can continue to navigate your way through the storm to resolutions that will allow everyone
to rebuild together.

If you are looking for the right way to build the Leadership C.O.R.E. muscles you need to be the kind of leader that can L.E.A.D.I.N. to Conflict and communicate more powerfully, professionally and productively, then I invite
you to check out my new Leadership C.O.R.E. Program.

The Need for “Grownup” Leadership – Why Childhood Lessons Still Count

I ran into a friend who started working for a new company since I last saw her a year ago. Her job puts her in contact with leaders from several
departments regularly.

Her conversation with me was all about what she was observing about the difference in leadership styles and the effect they were having not only on
her ability to perform the tasks of her job, but also on her emotional well-being.

As a mother, she was comparing their styles of operation to the life skills and lessons that she was trying to impress on her teenage son daily.
Unfortunately, she was discouraged by the kind of leadership that she has to sit under. The more she talked, the more interested I became in her
analogy to getting her teenager to move toward adulthood and acting like a grown up and the leaders she was faced with daily.

I thought about the kind of leadership we are seeing today in all areas of life and about the life lessons that were impressed on me growing up.
Being a parent and a former teacher, I am familiar with the lessons that are still being impressed upon our young people today and wonder how much
impact the models of leadership they see are having on them.

As I began to focus on the basic lessons that are important as teens develop in to grownups, three things kept ringing true.

1. You Don’t Have to Respond to Everything Bad Someone Says About You

In other words, sometimes you just have to ignore what people say. With the popularity of social media, in particular Twitter, we are seeing
leaders in every arena “clapping back” at every remark harder and faster. Just the opposite of what we are trying to teach our budding young adults
to do. Real leadership requires a higher skill level around managing feelings, triggers and reactions. People are often unhappy sitting under the
leadership of a person who doesn’t know how to walk away or who just cannot let a remark go unanswered.

2. Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You

The golden rule which exists in a similar form in almost every culture and language is still something that is taught starting in childhood. The best leaders who create climates where people feel respected and cared about are those where leaders live by this rule. These leaders don’t name-call, scream, berate and intimidate their staff in order to get them to fear them and produce more. They know that the very things that they hate being done to them are the things that will cause resentment, dissatisfaction and a desire to leave the company.

3. Keep Your Word

Your word is your bond. It is all you really have. It is still a principle that sets leadership apart. In order to adhere to this principle, a leader has to be discerning. They have to think hard about what they want to give their word to because people will remember. Leadership that inspires loyalty and high productivity begins and ends with a leader who keeps their word to their team, their followers and their loved ones. Yes, leaders who understand that these days when the world can follow your every move, the separation between business and personal is getting smaller and smaller, don’t save principled behavior just for the office.

As more businesses reap the results of ineffective leadership, it seems to be turning out that childhood lessons aren’t just for childhood.

Bold Leaders Resolve Conflicts with Confidence

I grew up watching Emma Peels on the TV show, The Avengers. Everything she did from walking into a room, handling a difficult conversation and delivering a fierce side-kick, she did with extreme confidence. The impact she had on me was… here was a woman who knew that she was highly skilled in talking to people in any conflict situation and therefore chose to take it to the extreme (in her case using martial arts) only when her life was in danger.

With all the conflict that is happening and with every major business magazine and journal reporting on the importance of leaders building healthy relationships and diverse, high functioning teams, social skills are fast becoming the primary tools for success. Those who will be most successful in making major and impactful change are those leaders who can be Bold when it comes to conflict.

Bold Leaders know that they must skillfully and willingly engage in conflict, because it is both inevitable and necessary. Conflict can bring new ideas, opinions and perspectives to the workplace creating greater productivity, but only if we as leaders are confident in our ability to face it and manage it.

Bold Leaders anticipate and set the table for conflict knowing that putting it on the table for discussion before it blows up only makes the workplace stronger. That means we run into the fire of conflict while others are busy filming it or running the other way.

Bold Leaders continuously go within themselves to search for and own what they do to escalate conflict. We all have the potential to escalate, because we all have triggers. Triggers are fueled by emotions which set off reactions rather than responses. Bold leaders know that in order to take triggers off our plate we must examine our own feelings toward conflict and discover the root causes for them.

Bold Leaders add to and strengthen their conflict resolution skills with highly effective communication skills. This means that we are not just listening, but we are mindfully and strategically listening beneath the words in order to get to the source of conflict.

Bold Leaders examine the conflicts created by the cultural norms of the workplace and create conversations around them.

Bold Leaders, no matter where they are, home, office or community, are not just talking it out but hosting fearless conversations with the resolution of conflict as our goal.

The times that we are in require Bold Leaders who will use all of these skills in order to walk into the fire with confidence every time.

Are you a high-achieving leader who works with a team? Want to know if you are on your way to being a Bold Leader or already there? Let me send you my FREE Leadership C.O.R.E. Assessment Tool and let’s find out. Email me at lynne@lynnemaureenhurdle.com

The Conflict of Trust, Race and Engine Failure

Last month I was sitting on a plane that was supposed to be a direct flight from NYC to Honolulu when the pilot’s voice came on to announce that there was trouble with one of the engines and not to worry. The plan was to land in Portland and take care of the problem. The immediate problem other than the obvious was that this announcement came an hour before we would arrive in Portland. I looked at my seatmate and those around us, including flight attendants and saw worry and fear so clearly. I leaned back in my seat and decided that all I could do was trust.

I remember thinking that I trust these pilots to know what they are doing even though I have not met them. I trust that any dark and scary imaginations that my mind can conjure up cannot and will not compete with their knowledge to do what they do regularly and that is to fly this plane and land it safely. They live this and I trust that they have stories to tell from their experiences. My seatmate shares that she has flown this airline for many years and has never had this experience. So, she decided to join me in leaning in to trust.

I had just finished reading O Magazine’s issue dedicated to talking about race and my mind went immediately there. I thought about this idea of trust and its relationship to race relations. People of Color are often subjected to the day-to-day oppressive notion that someone who has no clue and has never walked in your shoes is the decided and sanctioned authority of your experience. The people outside of our experience get to say that “you are making it up,” “that doesn’t happen,” “it was mean but I don’t think it was racism” or “let’s wait until all the facts are in” and the insanely frustrating “why do you always have to play the race card?”

People of Color who are socio-economically diverse, educationally diverse from all walks of life who tell their stories of similar abuses who should be the authorities on their experiences in this country, are not believed regularly. There is little trust or there would be more change. That many of us including myself experience this among people we know, respected friends and colleagues, slowly erodes our faith that the ethnic and racial conflicts in this country will ever end.

Trust, a little word with HUGE power.

While there is an enormous amount of work to do and continuous conversations to be had, I ask us to start to look at this idea of trust and the role it plays in our relationship to one another when it comes to race and ethnicity specifically. The sad truth is that even People of Color have been poisoned by the insidious beliefs of mistrust that have been so strategically ingrained in the fiber of this country.

Can you trust that we live this life every day and our experiences are where our expertise lie? Can we fly the plane while you sit back and trust that because we live this we know about all the turbulence and bumps ahead and exactly where things are going to land?

lynne-maureen-hurdle

The Conflict that Resides Within A Question. Are You Ready For the Answer?

How far would you go to get an answer to your one burning question?

Daryl Davis traveled to the very people that hate him. What kind of courage does it take to ask a sibling that is gravely ill to increase her pain by healing the old wounds that have created lasting conflict between the two of you? Elizabeth Lesser exhibited that kind of raw courage when she chose to become a bone marrow donor for her sister.

These are the kinds of conflict that challenge so much of what we think and believe. They push us to look at our own capacity for facing and resolving conflict.

Daryl DavisAt the young age of 10, Daryl Davis was cruelly attacked while marching in a Cub Scout parade. As the only black face in the parade, he was offensive to many white adults in the crowd and their reactions were to throw bottles, cans and whatever they could find at him. When he returned home and his parents explained racism to him, he held both disbelief and curiosity. His question, “how can you hate me when you don’t even know me,” would lead him to the depths of hatred, the Ku Klux Klan.

elizabeth-lesserElizabeth Lesser found the answer to her question a lot closer to home. When her sister was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, Elizabeth was a match as a bone marrow donor. The painful transplant process was only half of the challenge that Elizabeth and her sister took on. The deeper and in some ways more painful journey came in asking the question, “if we are really talking about healing can we start with the old wounds of our relationship?” That kind of conflict resolution requires deep commitment to surfacing, examining and healing what is holding you back from moving forward in your relationship.

The opportunity to sit with Daryl and Elizabeth and delve into the raw, honest truth about their experiences opened the door to my own thoughts and a desire to engage in the work of learning how to live my life on the highest level possible.

I believe that the times are requiring that of each of us. We can no longer avoid the conflicts that are ripping our homes, places of businesses, communities, the nation and world apart. Learning to resolve conflict one meaningful response at a time is no longer a request, but rather a demand that our world is placing on us.

Are you ready?

Join me for the Soul of Conflict Tele-Summit: Healing Old Wounds to hear the rest of their compelling stories and so many more.

Let’s do the work of H.E.A.L.ing forward together. Go to: http://soulofconflictsummit.com.