By Kevin Eikenberry
Conflict avoidance, as a general statement isn’t a good idea. Left unchecked and unaddressed, conflict tends to grow, not recede. But the question here is about you, as a leader, and whether conflict avoidance is a good idea.
The answer is, it depends.
If someone on the team is coming to you, telling you about what someone else is doing wrong -and the resulting conflict, chances are you should start by avoiding the conflict personally. The reality is that the person who came to you is in conflict avoidance mode – by passing it off to you.
As a leader we shouldn’t get involved until we’ve checked to see if the parties in conflict have worked on it yet themselves. I have far more to say about that in this short video.
This doesn’t mean we stay in conflict avoidance mode ourselves, though. As a leader if the conflict is causing a business problem, then it needs to be overcome. Step one is to encourage and coach people to solve it themselves. But if that doesn’t yield resolution, then we may need to get involved to help the two parties sort out the causes of the conflict and more importantly, help them mutually agree to future behaviors that will reduce or resolve the conflict.
Our focus as a leader is to resolve the conflict to solve the business problem, and avoidance likely won’t make that happen.
Join us for the virtually delivered Bud to Boss Workshop. In just two hours a week, seven weeks you can learn new skills (including how to resolve conflict as a leader) and apply them as you learn. You can learn more and register here. <-