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Let’s be honest here, most women hate conflict and will do or say practically anything to avoid it.
But avoiding conflict can cause a domino effect that can be, at the least, emotionally draining for you and even worse, dangerous for your business.
For example, let’s say you have an assistant who’s late or inaccurate delivering projects to you. Or you have a client who’s not stepping up and doing what she needs to, to get the results you promised.
Or let’s say you have an event guest speaker do something un-cool from the stage, or even a coaching program client behave inappropriately in the group (trust me, I’ve had it happen!)
You see the problem, you know you need to step into your power and address it but … you hold back.
Here’s the deal: back in ancient history, a woman on her own had little chance of survival. So women developed the ability to blend in, keep everything even keel and to not rock the boat.
On a deep, core level women were afraid that if they spoke up they would be kicked out of their tribe and their very survival would be at stake.
Which is why even now, during a time of the greatest financial, emotional and physical freedom a woman has ever had, her actions during a conflict may not make logical sense, but often feel like the safest choice for her to make.
You can’t avoid conflict in business, no matter how “nice” you try to be. So rather than caving in like our ancient sisters did long ago, use my personal best tips to give you the strategies and the confidence you need to expertly handle any issue decisively and with feminine grace and ease.
Tip #1 Stop Gossiping And Start Speaking Up
The first thing most women do when they’re upset with someone is to tell all of their friends, yet avoid having a conversation with the offending party.
Business isn’t high school and gossiping around someone isn’t the behavior of a grown up, woman leader. So if you find yourself telling more than one person about someone else’s actions, then use that as a signal it’s time for YOU to take action.
Pick up the phone or send an email, saying you want to have a conversation about the situation.
Tip #2 Own Your Feelings
Before you start the conversation, take a minute to find your source of clarity and strength. What I do is ask myself, “How is this familiar?” to get to the bottom of why I’m triggered.
Conflict situations don’t “just happen” and once you identify what this reminds you of you’ll feel an easing of the emotional charge, allowing you to see the facts more clearly, rather than from a place of blame and victim.
Tip #3 Position Yourself As The Leader Of The Conversation
People appreciate clarity and directness, even if the message has a lot of emotion to it or if both sides don’t agree on what happened. The outline I follow is this:
Clearly state what I want to discuss
Clearly state what I want the outcome to be
Outline how I expect the conversation to flow
Get agreement before continuing
Would seeing a script help? Use this:
“I want to talk with you about what happened at ______________.
What I want to accomplish here is having us come to an understanding about how we can make this right, and how we’re going to go forward from here.
I’d like to start by hearing what you think happened, go through what I experienced, then come to an agreement as to what our next step is.
Does that work for you?”
Tip #4 Beware Of Their “Little Kid” Acting Up
Don’t be surprised if you suddenly hear blame, accusations or victim language. It’s not uncommon when someone is on the hot seat to revert to feeling and behaving like a little kid. It’s kind of spooky, I know, but it happens so be prepared if it does.
The best thing you can do is to not try and engage with them at that level. You’re best off if you keep breathing and simply mirror back what they’re saying to you, or you can acknowledge they are upset. I’ve often asked this question:
“What do you need me to say or do right now so that you feel heard?”
Tip #5 Seek Understanding First, Then To Be Understood
People want to be recognized, heard and understood. Taking a few minutes at the start of the conversation to hear their perspective is going to give you amazing insight into why they did what they did and what their take is on the situation. This is going to help you find a resolution that much faster.
Their behavior and reasons may not be what you agree with but if you can make sense of it from their perspective, you’ll stay grounded, clear and in your power.
My advice when you have any type of business conflict is to address it immediately!
The energy of it is within you anyway so by addressing the situation early you’ll prevent it from becoming a big, time wasting drama and instead, you’ll be strengthening your “courage muscles”!