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Managing Conflict is one of the top internet searches that brings people to our website. Most clients have the topic included in the leadership training we provide to managers, supervisors and team leaders.
Many workshop participants associate the word conflict with negative words like arguement, war, battle, disagreement and frustration.
Instead we could view conflict more constructively as being essential for effective organizations and relationships. Conflict is normal and natural, especially with regard to change. Because change involves moving away from the status quo, it can create a difference of opinion and it can stir defensive reactions.
Defensiveness is natural and appears in one of two forms: Passive/Victim thinking – the conflict might hurt me so I will lay low. Or Aggressive/Competitive – I will aggressively argue in hopes of winning the conflict.
Instead, leaders should view conflict as an opportunity to lead people through what may initially appear to be an irreconcilable difference in opinion.
Seven steps on how to lead others through conflict
No Complaints Does Not Constitute Agreement
Sometimes a leader will assume that everyone is in agreement because no one is complaining directly. Passive or victim thinking causes people to commiserate and hint at their concern. The leader must be alert to these more subtle signs of conflict. It takes longer to get a quieter person to express his or her concerns. The reward for the leader in being proactive at bringing out and resolving these quieter concerns is that passive people tend to congregate together.
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