Recently, I was interviewed by Kathy Caprino – Senior Contributor to Forbes blog – on conflict management and leaders. In response to one of the questions about what compelled me to create a conflict management coaching model, I explained that in my work as a workplace mediator it became evident that many leaders do not know how to “be” in conflict. That is, engaging effectively is not a competency that many leaders bring to their work. Being able to listen well (to hear and understand before talking), to regulate emotions, to engage others in challenging conversations with calm, and other such characteristics are just some of the traits associated with this competency.
Conflict competent leaders also work to build conflict competent organizations. And by doing so, contribute to normalizing conflict. This means, among other things, accepting the inevitability of conflict and creating systems and processes to facilitate difficult conversations. It means addressing differences that are fractious in nature (and commonly occur in most workplaces) and providing opportunities for staff to share their ideas and views without recrimination.
This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog asks you to consider the notion of “being” in conflict for you.
- What sorts of conflicts do you want to engage in with increased confidence and competence?
- What are the commonalities of the types of conflicts in which you don’t see yourself as conflict competent yet?
- What does being conflict competent mean to you in terms of how you would like to “be” in those situations (that you refer to in response to the above questions)?
- What do you suppose gets in your way of being conflict competent?
- When you have observed others who seem to engage effectively in conflict, what way of being do they demonstrate that you would like to emulate?
- When you take one of the conflicts from the first question – one that was especially difficult for you – what was most difficult about that one?
- For what reason (further to the above question)?
- If you were conflict competent in that situation, what skills would you have that you didn’t then?
- How will you feel about yourself when you become conflict competent? How will you feel about the other person with whom you are in conflict, to be able to be conflict competent?
- What efforts might you make to strengthen your conflict competency?
- What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
- What insights do you have?