Polarizing social media, degrading political debates, and constantly negative news can cause us to internalize conflict. That discord inside us then negatively impacts our relationships with family, friends, and at work.*
Conflict causes an emotional toll, and it’s also damn wasteful. As a leader, you need to recognize how external events can potentially influence your working relationships:
Anger consumes – Rage channeled at someone else diverts energy from working on your business and yourself.
“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master. Someone can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed.” – Epictetus
Conflict distracts – In addition to its bearing on you, the team becomes distracted and even clients may be impacted.
Collaboration lost – Effectively working together yields huge results, so disruption undermines growth.
Sure, other people can be a pain. I can be a pain, too. Notice if your emotions fluctuate during the day and compare them to similar circumstances last year.
Recognizing our emotions, sometimes unconsciously affected by external factors, allows us to realize how our behaviors may in turn disrupt productive teamwork.
The next post talks about ways to de-escalate conflict and bolster success.
𝗪𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗗𝗲-𝗘𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲
Conflict brings two fears: others’ imperfection and our own. However, we need to push through conflicts to grow our business and ourselves.
Step back – Pause before reacting, and maybe walk, meditate, or read. If you're still angry, draft the email but definitely don’t send. Get a good night’s sleep or have a friend read first. Then talk directly since tone and body language are lost by email.
Practice empathy – Find one positive thing about the other person by separating character and behavior. See the other person's side. How are they impacted and how would you feel in the same circumstances?
“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” ― Maya Angelou
Own yourself – Take responsibility for what you bring. Maybe something earlier carries into now. This is not about right and wrong. Oil and water just don't mix, neither one is wrong.
Face it directly – Realize conflict does not diffuse on its own. It often intensifies, so address an issue early. Approach using “I” sentences (vs. “you”) and listen intently.
Finding a mediator to focus on resolution can help. At the end, agree on next steps to prevent the situation from recurring.
Every leader faces strong challenges. Knowing yourself and resolving conflict early leads to success.
* For example, divorce rates have jumped significantly since the pandemic began in early 2020, according to data from Legal Templates, a company specializing in legal documents.
Photo by Richard Lee who can be found here