Here’s an idea to help you maintain control in a conflict. Reading time: 2:11.
I always smile when I think of the scene in Star Trek the Motion Picture where Spock and Dr. McCoy are reunited on the starship for the first time in years. McCoy — the affable people-oriented physician — sniffs at Spock — the cold, aloof, analytical half human science officer: “You are as warm as ever and you haven’t changed.”
And Spock, his voice dripping with equal sarcasm, retorts: “Nor have you changed, doctor, as your continued predilection for irrelevancy demonstrates.”
Feuding like that between McCoy and Spock — born in personality differences and bred in a high-stress work environments, is bound to happen in any organization whenever and wherever highly intelligent, ambitious, opinionated people come together. The key for effective leaders is knowing how to deflect and defuse accusatory language.
After all, it’s too easy to look for the negative in any situation; too easy to find a flaw in the situation; too easy to change the tone of discussion from upbeat to beat-up; too easy to say, “Yes….but…”
That’s why the most effective leaders I have known get off their “buts!!!” They conquer conflict with something more than the standard “Yes….but” mantra. They turn their ‘buts” into ‘ands.”
Here’s an idea to get your proposals approved in a negative environment.
“I don’t like it one bit,” groused the president after reviewing a proposed policy from one of his vice presidents. The vice president stood firm as the president shot his proposal down like a gunslinger in those old Western movies in a duel at high noon. The vice president fired back but his bullets of information seemed to bounce harmlessly off the president. The vice president left the office depressed and dejected. The president felt misunderstood and abandoned. Nerves fried. Egos frayed.
Resolving conflict in the executive suite is modus operandi. As leaders we know that we are supposed to first seek to understand then to be understood as Stephen Covey conveys so well in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. But you and I both know that resolving conflict is easier said than done.
Here’s an idea to reprimand poor performance yet motivate continuous improvement. Reading time: 4:58
You are fuming mad. This is the fourth straight time that one of your top performing employees has been late for your staff meeting. Somehow you bite your tongue. You maintain your composure throughout the meeting.
But then after everyone else leaves the meeting room, you confront the tardy employee. Your frustration gets the better of you. You explode into a flurry of accusations:
“Bill, your cavalier attitude on attending staff meetings on time is frustrating to me and to the rest of the team. I thought we had already addressed this issue. Any way I have had it.
“The next time you’re late for a staff meeting, you’ll have to have more than a good excuse. Or else! Or else it will be your last meeting with us because you will no longer be working here. I don’t care how many sales records you break,” the boss deadpanned as he walked out of the meeting room.