Circles of Change:Conversations with Dr. Zara Larsen
on Change Leadership and Career Fulfillment
September 28, 2008
“Managing Conflict:Smacked Upside the Heart”
Music Selections by Willie Carmichael and the Jack-Booted Thugs:
“Little Blue Hat”, “How She Makes it Home”, from Serious Business CD (2008)
“Closer to the Bone”, from Whistling Past the Graveyard CD (2006)
Conflict is when we don’t agree on something and is a normal part of the human experience.Confrontation is a choice we make to resolve a conflict and if done right, is an earnest attempt to get relationships back on track.
Whether we are in change or not, the cost of conflict (energy, time, money, morale) and the impact of not treating others with respect and “taking the mail to the right address” are often underestimated.
Leaders need to be bone honest and clear about the vision for their organizations, particularly when articulating change, being in touch and understanding people’s capacity to change.
I feel getting buy-in to a change before it happens, trying to convince people to believe in a glorious enough picture, is over rated.People go through change at different rates, and only with the engagement of the front line supervisors and dealing with a very emotional process will this buy-in emerge.Safety gets created through the emergence of trust, via airing and clearing conflict through confrontation.
To successfully diagnose and resolve a conflict, consider:
·ENDS – being crystal clear on our goals and objectives
·MEANS – agree on how we are going to do it, strategy and tactics
·COORDINATION –all that we do to execute the means, including performance management
·RELATIONSHIP –our connectedness
If there is disagreement or confusion at any level, the problem always rolls to the level below.Breakdowns often aren’t seen until they get to relationships and we feel the pain.Step back and look at the root of the problem or drama, which almost never is at the relationship level.
Over 50% of the time the issues are in performance management, a person not pulling their weight and not having the support to get there.Is the person the right fit for the job, including expectations, role clarity and training?
Personal accountability – being counted on by others – is having the ability, willingness and courage to take action for desired outcomes.
What do I want? Can I do what it takes to create more of that, even though it could be hard, arduous, and perhaps I don’t have the skills yet to get there?
How do I want to feel in the process?
In conflict, typically we want OTHERS to change, but really what is it I need to do?What do I need to change vs. others and get away from victimization and feeling I don’t have choices.There is power and freedom to choose how I want to feel, compared to coercing others in a direction.
Constructive criticism properly authored is one of the most respectful things we can offer other people to lift them out of mediocrity.Be wary not to sabotage the organization for the sake of our own comfort vs. addressing feelings and helping others.
Personal growth calls for self awareness and humility to ask for help and learn new things, broadening our leadership pallet in the process.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008