Todays lesson for me is in the ability to sit with colleagues and let conflict happen in a safe, constructive environment That sounds a bit off the wall but sometimes sitting with two people who need to let out their frustrations and deal with the elephant in their room can be something that needs to happen. Doing it with a coach is much easier than going around in circles alone but takes a lot of courage and vulnerability.
All teams will face times of disagreements, sometimes frustration and if not dealt with, escalation may occur such as outbursts of anger, passive aggression, rage or worse. This is definitely the hardest part of a leader's job. Conflict is uncomfortable and should never be avoided.
Are you a leader who hides when conflict pops up? When unresolved it just simply doesn't ever go away, in fact it only gets worse. When it builds up, and then finally erupts you may have a full-blown crisis on your hands.
Leaders who don't deal with conflict properly will see it show up in other ways like absenteeism, gossip, low productivity, harassment as well as many other possibilities. You will spend more time dealing with the fallout then you would by not dealing with the original conflict.
What I was reminded of in my lesson today was to listen, breathe, allow it to come out and take shape. Don't take the conflict personally; deal with the facts; and honour the other persons perceptions and opinions. Being cautious that everyone is okay with hearing conflict is an important consideration.
In the role of leader or coach, controlling the emotions buy checking in and facilitating time for pauses and breathing as well as allowing people equal time to talk is vital.
Allowing someone to voice their frustrations and concerns creates a trusting relationship that is built on truth. Nothing is hiding any longer and people can just be real. It is exciting to see people reach a conclusion that they never thought was possible AND, many times they feel relief and are very glad to have come to some sort of resolution.
Becoming more comfortable with conflict, recognizing anger and frustration as a real feeling and creating a safe place for it to come out builds team, strengthens relationships and improves all performance metrics you can think of.
If you're interested, Patrick Lencioni's book "5 Dysfunctions of a Team" talks about how to have healthy conflict and is a great resource for building trust and achieving results.