Leaders Address Arguing During Conflict

A while back, we did a series on conflict as it relates to DiSC style.

Starting this week, let’s look at some common dysfunctional behaviors during conflict. When we are not at our personal best, we’re all capable of descending into these behaviors, especially if they are a part of how we’ve done things in the past.

Debate is important – healthy conflict involves disagreements around issues and ideas, with the goal of finding the best path.

If we’re not careful, we might let debate become about winning and losing. And when that happens, we are distracted from finding the truth and end up in a political battle. We get insecure, worry about our egos, and start to believe that if we give up ground, we will lose something in the process.

When this is the case, we don’t see teammates as partners in pounding out the issues to get to the truth; instead, we see them as rivals who must be put in their place. Because of this, empathy and team-focus disappear. Without empathy, we run the risk of damaging relationships and losing the argument.

What to do?

In the heat of battle, pause. Let others talk a moment, breathe, and ask yourself, “What am I feeling? How much is this about winning?” In that moment of self-awareness, consider saying out loud, “Let’s pause a moment. We might be arguing instead of debating. Are we trying to win, or trying to find the truth? I know I need to think about that for a minute.”

Vulnerability is powerful, and that can be quite a moment to refocus.

Next time you find yourself arguing, pause, and give it a shot.

This is the first post in a series discussing what not to do during conflict situations. Effective leaders avoid portraying these 18 behaviors during conflict and address them in others. Follow along as we explore the negative impact of these behaviors, and what to do instead.

3 Responses

  1. Lynette
    | Reply

    This is great!
    Thank you!

  2. Tom Henricksen
    | Reply

    Great advice and an important distinction between a disagreement and arguing.

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