Strategy Blog
Dealing With Conflicts At Work

About the Author

Author Lance LeFort is sought out by leaders in Animation, VFX, Video Games, and Digital Entertainment who recognize the need to attract the industry’s best talent. Through LeFort Talent Group’s extensive network of relationships and their “deep dive” qualification process, they are able to identify and secure individuals who represent the top tier of professionals.

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Dealing With Conflicts At Work

Why do people avoid conflict?

Why do people avoid conflict? Conflict avoidance can stem from not having seen conflict being both directly confronted and effectively resolved in childhood. It can also stem from one not being perceived as agreeable, especially for those who have ascended to higher roles within an organization. Those new to a leadership role may find it difficult to initiate difficult conversations with former co-workers or work friends.Dealing with ConflictAll relationships are based on trust. When that trust erodes, it can strain the entire team. Trust begins with leadership. The ability to engage in difficult conversations is the hallmark of a great leader. However, many people are averse to conflict and, therefore, avoid discussing topics such as quotas, performance, poor attitude, and colleague relations. According to VitalSmarts, $1,500 and up to eight hours of time are wasted on each critical conversation avoided.Those who struggle with conflict may utilize text or email to engage in difficult conversations. These means of communication are fraught with the tendency for miscommunication, due to the inability of the recipient to gauge tone and of the sender to gauge reaction.There are some simple steps to engaging in difficult conversations:

  1. Begin the conversation with full transparency. Acknowledge that it will be a difficult conversation.
  2. Clearly state the problem, citing specific examples.
  3. Admit your role in the issue. Leaders usually have some blame, even if it is simply avoiding having the difficult conversation.
  4. Clearly state the desired outcome or result from the conversation.
  5. Solicit feedback on what has been discussed thus far.
  6. Share consequences if the desired outcome is realized.
  7. End the conversation on a positive note, thanking the person for engaging with you.
  8. Follow up later in the day or the next morning to gauge understanding and answer any questions that may have come up following the conversation.

Strengthening your leadership skills by strengthening your relationships will help instill trust within your teams. The key to building and maintaining trust is the ability to effectively engage in difficult conversations.​

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