We all face conflict at one time or another in our careers. Whether it is with a peer, a colleague, or even our boss, the conflict can either be a completely debilitating experience that hinders our efforts to achieve our objectives, or it can be a tremendous growth opportunity that expands our focus on the things that truly matter to include the varied perspectives of those we work with each day. So often, for many of us, it is the former example that dominates any conflict situation.
As leaders, our team members face the same things and we need to be there to help them move through those conflicts to produce the growth necessary to form a culture of support, improvement, and overall action. Our ability to mediate these situations efficiently and effectively with a clear focus on our overall objectives will set our teams apart from those who let internal conflicts infect their organizational culture.
So how do we navigate these tricky situations and lead with strength? Gapology, IMBAR, and Speed of Purpose provide clear methods to set ourselves up for success when we face them. As always, we need to begin by looking at ourselves. Our personal identity forms our own mindset and behaviors to dictate our outcomes, and it all starts with having a clear and compelling purpose that we follow each day. If we are missing those things in our lives, we must begin there. These form the foundation of our paradigm and control how we interact with the world and the people around us.
From that foundation, we can get to work using Gapology to mediate the conflict. Here are some steps to follow to lead the team through these stormy times.
Ensure that you have defined a clear and compelling purpose. This needs to be a simple focus that is wrapped around all elements of your business including your people and the performance and processes of your organization.
Ensure that your professional identity is in alignment with that purpose. How you see yourself is critical to creating the mindset necessary to keep the team focused on your Purpose. Are you a world-class leader who has a clear vision and strategy for your team? An identity like this will set behaviors in motion to make that vision and strategy come true.
Utilize your knowledge of Gapology to close any existing Performance Gaps:
Close the Knowledge Gaps. What information do you need to know about the conflict? What information does each team member need to know? What elements are missing that may be causing walls to stand between people? What training or teaching elements need to happen?
Close the Importance Gaps. What really matters here? What communication problems need to be resolved? Are lines open to give and receive information? Are priorities clearly defined by aligning them with the purpose and are those priorities being impacted by the conflict?
Close the Action Gaps. What is being measured and how are you creating recognition or coaching methods for those things? What obstacles are preventing a commitment to action?
Most conflict is derived from varying viewpoints or a lack of effective communication and priorities. As leaders, it is up to us to strip away the emotions of an enflamed situation and refocus our team around our purpose and expectations. While in an emotion-charged state, people tend to feel more than think. It is our duty to help de-escalate the emotional elements by bringing attention to the things that really matter, with strong direction around priorities and support for the people we lead.
*Listen to the Gapology Radio Takeover podcast discussion with Judy & Sarah Shoulak on Conflict Resolution here: https://www.gapology.org/podcast