If you want to properly assess the appropriate ways to deal with conflict, it is best to consider examples as well as mere theory. Aesthetics are vital for learning and visualisation through past examples of a situation being resolved is a useful asset to have when thinking about difficult conversations and emotional intelligence.
Many successful business leaders and executive coaches have talked in the past about the need to engage with conflict in search of resolution, and I want to draw on the words of two recent articles in the Harvard Business Review, including Amy Gallo’s Guide to Managing Conflict at Work. Gallo and others look in detail at our responses and the way our brains tend to react in a conflict. The lines between rationality and emotional reactions can become easily blurred in a time of conflict, which often happens quickly and without time to gather one’s thoughts. This guide and its advice follow a well-versed and recommended structure to approaching conflict, especially when aiming to bring about change.
The first is to check your mindset. The way you come into this will be reflected in your body language and seen by the others in the conversation. Negativity must be erased, and an open mind is crucial. If a colleague feels they cannot approach you at all, they will feel there is no point in even trying.
The next marker is about perspective. Just because you wish to implement a strategy across the board does not mean it fits in with theirs; have you considered why? There can be a lot to learn from actually finding out why they feel that way instead of being very dismissive.
Third comes the suggestion to vent before such a conflict discussion. Speak to a friend you trust and play out the scenarios that are floating in your head. Being settled in your approach and clear about everything that is involved can do wonders for an open conversation.
Leaders are not expected to be perfect examples of conflict-free behaviour, but being able to bring about quick resolution is one of the best skills you will ever master.