Conflict, character and calm

You’d been angling to get assigned to the special project team at work for a long time. Finally your dream came true.  What you weren’t expecting, however, was discovering the team facilitator rubbed you the wrong way, big-time.

Maybe it’s a case of opinions and values being worlds apart. Perhaps there’s open hostility or a personality clash. Possibly there’s hidden resentment on your part. Regardless the reason for the conflict, you can’t avoid or ignore him because your long-awaited participation requires interaction and collaboration.

So what does a savvy self-aware character-based leader do? Take the high road!  You take control of the one thing in your control – yourself.

Manage your attitude. While the temptation to fire off a snarky retort or roll your eyes in derision is alluring, it isn’t a politically astute move as it diminishes you. Think before reacting when your hot button is stoked. Move away from your sense of rightness. Make it a point of personal honor to avoid a purposeless confrontation. Stay calm, maintain self-control.

“The greatest conflicts are not between two people but between one person and himself.” ~Garth Brooks

Understand your own intentions. Are you operating from an “I win/you lose” perspective? If your motive is to enhance your standing by diminishing that of others, it won’t work. A win/win orientation plays to everyone’s benefits.

“Even in your rightness about a subject, when you try to push your rightness toward another who disagrees, no matter how right you are, it causes more pushing against. In other words, it isn't until you stop pushing that any real allowing of what you want can take place.” ~Abraham Hicks

Become familiar with what motivates your nemesis. Walk in his penny loafers; view things from her perspective; listen closely for clues to his values and beliefs. Consultant Susan Lankton-Rivas advises, “Try to understand the other person’s point of view and how he or she arrived it at.” Doing so can help you get a better grasp on why this person annoys you so much.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” ~Dale Carnegie

Control your communication style and message.  Aim for total alignment between what you say and how you say it. The National Network for Women’s Employment counsels us to “keep in mind it’s not just what you say that matters. It’s also how you say it, how you act and your body language.” Advising a colleague in a sharp tone of voice there’s a problem you want to discuss – and doing so with your arms tightly folded across your chest – sets off his internal alarms and builds a poor foundation for productively resolving the issue.

“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. It is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Learning to master your attitude, intentions and communication style forms the bedrock for staying calm and capably managing conflict.

What other “stay calm” insights can you share?

Poster credit:  Keep Calm and Carry On
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