Productive Conflict: Be Flexible

One of our Group Dynamic values is to be easy to work with, and it’s one we take very seriously. We want you to be comfortable and not need to cater to us; it’s our job to cater to you.

If you need to change the venue, it’s fine. Add more people to a session, great. Decrease the number of people, no problem. Change the time or date? We will work with you until we get it right.

That’s being flexible.

What does it mean to be flexible during conflict?

Have you ever been in conflict with someone who isn’t flexible? How did that make you feel? Did you want to work with that person again?

Chances are they wouldn’t budge on anything, made you feel stuck and helpless, and you vowed to never work with them again. Accurate?

Flexibility during conflict is the ability to pause mid-discussion should either you or another person need extra space to either reflect, do some research, or bring in another person to help with either mediation or information. It’s the ability to find compromises where you see them. Let others speak while you listen and vice versa. Move the conversation to a different area, if needed. It’s being able to see holes in your own argument and give credit where credit is due.

Essentially, flexibility is the ability to meet the needs of the team.

What flexibility is not:

  • Being a pushover
  • Being agreeable to everything, even when you’re not
  • Being bossy/haughty
  • Saying nothing

Being flexible during conflict can ease tensions and keep the conversation productive. The tone is set in conflict by the leader, and if the leader is flexible, everyone else is more likely to be as well.

Being flexible is more natural for those with the S style and i style and may be less natural for those with the C style and D style.

This is the 13th post in an 18-part series discussing positive conflict behaviors. Effective leaders encourage productive conflict and discourage unproductive conflict. Follow along as we explore the positive impact of these behaviors.

Part 1: Finding the Root of the Problem
Part 2: Apologize
Part 3: Listen to Differing Perspectives
Part 4: Bring in a Neutral Perspective
Part 5: Separate Emotion from Fact
Part 6: Own Your Contributions
Part 7: Offer Reassurance
Part 8: Find a Compromise
Part 9: Give Others Time and Space
Part 10: Acknowledge the Feelings of Others
Part 11: Revisit Unresolved Issues
Part 12: Pause & Reflect

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