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For Leaders Who Hate Conflict

Uncategorized Oct 12, 2017

Do you hate conflict? Do you hate confrontation? Do you get uncomfortable when conveying something the other person doesn’t want to hear?

It isn’t necessarily easy for anyone to be the bearer of bad news, negative feedback, or to say “No” to a potential vendor. It isn’t easy to disagree with people or not give in to something they want.

If these things are difficult for you and if you are in a leadership position, then you are probably miserable. That’s because opportunities for all of these difficult situations are probably a regular part of your day, and are an important part of your job duties.

Your team is probably frustrated too. They may wonder why you avoid certain topics, or they may have to soothe vendors who can’t get a straight answer.

As a leader, it is imperative that you learn to deal with difficult topics appropriately and head-on.

No question that handling conflict is something that is difficult. Some of us learn as children that anger or conflict can even be dangerous. But it isn’t, and as adults, we know intellectually that we can’t always keep everyone happy. But, some still try.

Here are some tips to help you handle these tough conversations:

  • Address issues or problems as soon as you become aware of them. Sure, take some time to think about how you want to approach it, but the longer you wait the more anxious you will become and the more difficult it becomes to take action.
  • Recognize that being honest with people is a gift to them. When done calmly and in a caring manner, you are providing information that can help people move on in a positive way.
  • Do take some time to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Be clear about what the problem is and be frank about the issue.
  • Do not blame the person or make the issue personal. If you are concerned that the other person will do this you can practice saying something neutral like “I’m sorry you see it that way.”
  • Handle difficult things first thing in the morning—that way you won’t dread it all day and you can deal with it when you have the most energy.
  • You can seek out a therapist who can assist you in dealing with fears you have about conflict.
  • Or, seek out a coach who can assist you in the mechanics of difficult conversations.

The lack of ability to handle difficult conversations can leave a business or a team mired in old issues much longer than necessary. Not making tough decisions creates a lack of direction and confusion for everyone.

Don’t be THAT leader—figure out what works for you or get the help you need to work past this issue. Your team and your business depends on it!


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