Management Principle: Conflict

Well performing, sustainable firms are those with a healthy culture and people who are motivated to serve, rather than just show up. The most debilitating of all sicknesses is when intra-company relationships turn sour, and conflict is resolved by either abandoning or abusing proper communication protocols. Today’s principle focuses on the only real option if you want health in your organization.


Conflict. Like it or not we will all face conflict, forcing us to deal with an unwanted problem. We have one of three choices: 1) do nothing and avoid it; 2) assert ourselves to win; or, 3) resolve it with a proper communication process. If we stuff our emotions and say nothing, or, use aggression as a form of verbal combat, we will drive wedges in relationships and make matters worse. Speaking with outsiders only spreads the cancer and creates larger factions. On the other hand, when conflict is addressed properly, trust and teamwork emerge. We must learn how to say what we feel but in a nonjudgmental way, and provide opportunity for the other person to clarify their intentions in order to bridge the communication gap. It involves listening and questioning skills, and it requires both parties to suspend judgment until both sides are heard. Only then will relationships truly heal, yielding an even stronger bond. Organizational leaders who understand this principle cultivate a culture of engagement, and are rewarded with motivated, engaged team members, producing better results.

Coaching questions: What are the unstated rules in your firm, regarding conflict resolution? What can you do to improve the culture?

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.

Management Principle: Law of Holes

For organizational leaders, success is tied to the well being and the performance ability of staff members. We should care for our staff in such a way that incents them to work hard and remain loyal. When that doesn’t happen, we will often resort to blaming others?when we should be looking in the mirror. Professional leadership is a difficult journey requiring the utmost in patience and developed influence skills. I hope you enjoy today’s principle.

Law of Holes. We are taught to “keep our shoulder to the flywheel” until we’ve generated enough momentum to sustain forward movement on our goals and initiatives. This is true for many of our strategic plans; however, there are times when our efforts provide little evidence of hoped-for results. Discernment tells us that we need to change course, but we become so blinded by our belief that we continue by just trying harder. Insanity is doing the same things over and over again, and expecting different results. The law of holes states that when we realize we are digging a hole, stop! This principle applies to many contexts but reflect on its impact when managing people. Professional practitioners tell us we can accomplish big things if we leverage people through delegation and by defining clear roles and responsibilities. All true, unless we fail to effectively influence people in a way that is consistent with human nature. Delegating properly involves the use of wise and appropriate human incentive systems.

Coaching questions: When managing others, what methods have worked best in your past? How can you apply these same protocols to your current context?

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.

Secrets to Effective Conflict Resolution

Leadership Tip of the Month:
Conflict in the workplace is disruptive. It can have a negative impact on productivity, and may pose a threat to other employees. The quicker you can resolve a situation of conflict the better off your employees will be.

We all have had to deal with conflict in the workplace.? It can be a real energy drain as people within and around the conflict focus on the negative and not the positive.? The result is decreased productivity and even worse, potential danger for other employees.? As a leader, dealing with conflict is a key skill you must master.? So here are some recommended steps to take to resolve conflicts in a timely and efficient manner.

First, you must be able to recognize the conflict.? Some forms of conflict are subtle and not so blatant.? These subtle forms can include repeated negative attitudes or behaviors such as inappropriate use of humor-sarcasm or cynicism,? lack of care, empathy, and support of team members, interrupting others, appearing arrogant or a know it all, withholding of resources or information, etc. These are all subtle because they are interpreted by individuals who will interpret the behaviors based on their biases and experiences. Their interpretation will affect their relationship with the other person.? As a leader, you need to understand each of your team members’ behavior preferences so you can be alert to potential subtle conflicts which can ultimately escalate into much larger ones.? Then there are the more blatant behaviors such as yelling, intimidation, and continually not keeping commitments to others.

Read more on the Executive Velocity website.

Author: Beth Armknecht Miller, President and Executive Coach, Executive Velocity Inc