Sitting across from Lauren, a new client, I ask “how would you describe your relationship with conflict?” Without hesitation she replied “I would rather have a hot poker stuck through my eye than deal with conflict”. “How does this impact how you manage conflict within your team?” I asked. “I only address it if I have to, otherwise I wait and hope things take care of themselves” she said with a resigned sigh because she knew this was dropping the leadership ball.
I would rather have a hot poker stuck through my eye than deal with conflict
And it is a failure
Most leaders however, like Lauren, lack the mindset and skillsets to effectively deal with conflict in their workplace. They are literally lacking a core skill to perform their role. What other role do we tolerate such a thing? Imagine hiring a financial advisor who avoided numbers, or a communication strategist that balked at writing. That would be ludicrous! And that is exactly what is taking place every time a leader chooses to ignore conflict.