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How I Approach Team Conflict

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced a time when a star team member’s performance suddenly shifted. Team to me can mean employees, but also the not-obvious like contractors, vendors, and freelancers. 

Maybe they’d started missing deadlines, or slipping on their communication, or just not bringing the same energy into the work…In those sorts of situations, it’s SO easy for your mind to wander and start trying to fill in the blanks to figure out what’s going on. 

I’ve been there before myself, and what I’ve learned is that wondering doesn’t do anything to move the needle forward (not to mention their behavior is unlikely to change). To actually understand what’s going on and how to address it, you have to sit down with that person and figure things out together.

5 Best Practices for Successful Conflict Resolution

It’s NOT easy to have those tough conversations (I mean, who likes confrontation!?), but they’re an essential part of a healthy business. So today, I’d love to share 5 of my best practices to help set you up for success next time you’re in that position. 🙂

  1. Seek to understand (not accuse or blame). Go into the conversation with the goal of understanding what’s been going on behind the scenes with your employee. You never know if something is going on in their personal life that might be impacting their performance or if they’re struggling and just don’t know how to ask for help. Sometimes all you need to do is ask them how they’re feeling about things to get the conversation going. Keep asking questions until you get to the root to avoid future misunderstandings.
  1. Remember that everyone is different. This might seem obvious, but it’s good to remind yourself that everyone learns differently, communicates differently, and was raised differently, which means we all have biases and different perception filters. The way you and the person you’re speaking to might not have experienced the situation the same way. Getting on the same page means understanding where you each are coming from. 
  1. Recognize you might be in the wrong, too. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you’re perfect! Lead by example by being open to feedback and willing to grow and learn from the experience. 
  1. Be honest and direct in your observations (with kindness and professionalism). You can share what you’ve observed without being accusatory, harsh, or unprofessional. Assume good intentions and lean into kindness. 
  1. Close the convo by redefining expectations in an empowering way. Before ending the conversation, make sure that you’re both aligned and have a clear understanding of the steps you need to be better moving forward. If you don’t feel seen, heard, valued, and empowered, keep chatting until you get there. 🙂

Your team shapes the work you do and the company you build.

When every member of your team helps, supports, and encourages each other, your collective impact is amplified so you can do more good in the world.

…And that’s what we all want at the end of the day, right? 😉

Do you have any tips on approaching hard conversations I should add to this list? Click here and share them with me – let’s learn from each other!

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