How To Handle Conflict In Leadership

Conflicts arise in every relationship. Whether it’s conflict with your spouse, conflict with a friend, or conflict with a team member.

Anger will arise. You’ll want to air your frustrations. You’ll want to kill the relationships.

Instead, I encourage you to deal with the conflict. Learn how to handle conflicts as they come at you.

Image by Louis K.

Image by Louis K.

In most instances, you’ll be able to reconcile and resolve the conflict. This is the ideal solution.

We want conflicts handled quickly and nicely.

If you do is up to you. Let’s first look at:

What Not To Do

Often when we’re faced with conflict, our minds begin to race. Anger can begin to seep in.

Resentment. Hatred. Hurt. Distrust.

These are some of the feelings you’ll probably feel.

What you don’t want to do is focus on these emotions. They’re deadly and will destroy your ability to lead effectively.

There’s also actions you’ll never want to take. They are:

Gossip: Never, ever gossip about the conflict you’re involved in. It’s tempting to share the details with everyone you know. Don’t do it!

Gossip is toxic. It’ll eat away at you and destroy your image. Gossiping makes you look petty. Gossiping is ugly. Gossiping is an easy out.

Blow up: It’s mighty easy to get angry during a conflict and blow up. You might want to say vicious words that tear the other person apart. Once again, don’t do it.

Once you’ve spoken the words, they can never be taken back. Even if you didn’t really mean what you said. The words are out there. They’ve been spoken. They’ve been heard by the person you spoke them to.

Learn to control your anger. Speak in a calm tone and keep it together man!

Walk away: On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s the option to walk away from the relationship. This isn’t a wise decision either.

Walking away is showing you don’t care. That you’re better off without them (sure, sometimes this is the case but the majority of the time it isn’t).

Don’t give up on the relationship with your team member. Be willing to work it out.

How You Handle Conflict

We’ve seen what we don’t want to do. We don’t want to gossip, blow up, or walk away from a conflict.

Let’s take a look at what we can do to handle conflict. These actions will not be easy. Yet they’ll save relationships, build better connections, and allow you to lead better.

Approach the person you’re having an issue with: Conflicts can start with a breakdown of communication. People are unwilling to tackle the issue head on and they’ll run away. Be the leader and approach your team member when you can sense an issue brewing.

Open the lines of communications and find out what’s going on.

Be willing to apologize: Wait… You want me to apologize? Yes, yes I do. I want you to be willing to apologize to the other person. Even if you feel you’ve done no wrong.

Apologies are able to soften the offended party. They’re more willing to listen to what you have to say after you’ve said “I’m sorry.”

Handle the issue quietly: This goes along with what not to do and the trouble of gossip. We need to be willing to handle conflict quietly.

There’s no reason to air dirty laundry and hang others out to dry. Instead, deal with the conflict as quietly as possible and keep it between the people involved.

Deal with the conflict quickly: Don’t let the issue fester. If you know there’s a problem, go quickly and do your best to resolve it.

The longer you wait, the harder it will be to correct. Do it quickly now and save the time later.

Question: How do you handle conflicts in leadership? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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