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Category Archives: Leadership Development

Resolving Conflict with Collaboration

One more style or approach to conflict resolution in meetings is one of collaboration. Collaboration is an open style whereby people are considered just as important as results. Conflict is handled in such a way that there are no secrets. Everything is brought out into the open.

People who use this style believe in basic problem-solving techniques and look for the consensus agreement. A collaborative approach is especially useful in handling conflict when:

  • The members are trained in problem-solving
  • The parties have common goals that need the cooperation of all to be achieved
  • The conflict arises from misunderstandings or communication breakdowns

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Resolving Conflict Competition Style

Competition is a style in which the meeting facilitator or leader views results as being more important than people. In this style, conflict is always ended with a winner, and a loser. Competition may be the best response to conflict in the following situations:

  • A decision or action must be immediate
  • The parties in the conflict expect and appreciate the force or power necessary in a win / lose situation
  • Combatants recognize a clearly defined differentiation and are looking for leadership
  • It’s not necessary at that point in time for the leader to assert him/herself in order to keep the meeting moving forward

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Compromise: It Works, But There is a Catch

When it comes to effectively leading a meeting and dealing with conflict that naturally arises within any organization, compromise is often touted as the best way to come to a resolution. Perhaps that’s because it is used so often, or because it addresses people’s emotions. Compromise is one way to resolve conflict, but there are drawbacks (more thoughts about the drawbacks of compromise here>> ).

A compromising style can be adopted when you want everyone to feel as if they’ve won. The objective of this approach is to strive for agreeable solutions. Compromise might be the best response to conflict when:

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Using ‘Accommodation’ as a Conflict Resolution Tactic

We’ve discussed that there are different ways to deal with conflict, particularly in meetings (face-to-face). The first tactic, avoidance, has its uses and pitfalls, particularly for leaders, as it can be interpreted as the sign of a weak leader. But when used at the right time, it can be a very effective way to keep a meeting moving forward.

Accommodation is another way to deal with conflict in meetings. This is a style regularly used by those who are deeply concerned for others. The objective of accommodation is to make everyone happy, and is a style often used by people who believe that open conflict is extremely destructive, and that good outward relationships must be maintained at all costs.

Accommodation may be the best response when:

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Using Avoidance to Deal With Conflict

Whether you realize it or not, you are probably employing one of five main strategies when dealing with conflict.

  1. Avoidance
  2. Accommodation
  3. Competition
  4. Compromise
  5. Collaboration

Let’s talk about the first strategy – avoidance – when conflict arises in a meeting or a small group setting.

Avoidance is a style that allows you or the person running the meeting to remain neutral and stay out of the conflict. Choosing this strategy is choosing non-involvement.

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Dealing with Conflict

Conflict is inevitable in any organization. Part of the responsibility of the leadership team, or any individual rising in the ranks, is to effectively resolve issues. One place where conflict can readily appear is in meetings.

Conflict in meetings is not necessarily bad. It can serve to stimulate new ways of thinking, new ideas and better solutions; however, there are times when conflict can be less than productive. You don’t want conflict to impede the productivity of a meeting. Everyone’s time is too precious to waste in meetings that get derailed.

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Does Your Team Have a Shared Context?

Does your team have a shared context? If they don’t, they may fall short of achieving their goals (both individually and collectively).

Leaders must own the context by which their teams operate. (The context is the general that lends meaning to the specific.)

Owning the context doesn’t allow you to change people, but it does allow you to shift the way they approach their work.

When teams have a shared context, their individual work has meaning…each individual can thrive. The team will have greater success. Remember, you can’t change another person’s mind, but you can help shift their perspective. Owning or setting the context is the key to that influence.

'Remember, you can't change another person's mind, but you can help shift their perspective.' Click to Tweet

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We Are Guilty of Our Training, And That’s OK If…

Our Trained Minds

We are all guilty of our training.  What I mean by this is that our past experience combines with the area of our expertise, and together they guide how our minds will consider problems and solutions. If we can be aware of this tendency we can free ourselves to think more creatively about problems and solutions. If not, our minds may not consider the problem in a manner that will lead to the optimal solution. In other words, the way you define the problem will limit the number of available solutions.

[From Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar]

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The Paradox of Freedom II: A Cage in Which To Be Free

Since we’re talking about freedom, I wanted to share another paradox of freedom – a cage in which to be free. It’s a concept I’ve been sharing as part of my Success Strategies for years. And it’s directly connected to how our minds work, and how we simply cannot behave to a story that is inconsistent with our driving truths. Great leaders understand the paradox of the cage in which to be free not only for their own success, but for the success of those they lead.

Each of us lives according to our own specific myths (stories), contexts, and definitions. We choose these myths, contexts and definitions for ourselves. Some we choose consciously and some subconsciously. This is why I continually remind the leaders I work with that our perception is our reality. Not only do our perceptions determine how we live, but they also determine the limitations we place upon ourselves.

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Developing Your Leadership Team

The Importance of Leadership Development

Does your leadership team listen to each other? Many companies I work with have very bright, smart, and motivated people in leadership positions. Many of these leaders advance in the ranks due in part to their subject matter expertise, whether they are product, finance, industry, sales, customer service, or operations experts.

In order to get the most out of your leadership team, you need to set the vision, and frame the context by which your leaders and employees reach their goals, always with the vision first and foremost. In other words, it is difficult to be innovative, productive, and profitable in a company where the leadership teams focus first on their own individual subject matter expertise, and lose sight of the vision.

Learn more about Caruso Leadership’s services in Leadership Development>>

In this video, Joe Caruso addresses Entrepreneurs on the topic of developing their leadership teams, with a powerful example to drive home the point.

Get your Leadership Team to the next level.

Book Joe for your next Leadership Retreat or event. Contact us today.