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Three Keys to Conflict Resolution

By Doug Franklin August 7, 2012

Conflict Resolution is the leadership skill of being able to settle disagreements in a healthy constructive manner.  Conflict is unavoidable for leaders.  Resolving conflict separates the good from the great leaders.

Some leaders buy into the myth that conflict must be avoided at all costs because it is scary and unproductive.  The reality is that conflict cannot be avoided no matter what.  It is a necessary part of dealing with any group of humans.  When properly addressed, conflict can be positive and productive.

Leaders must face and resolve conflict with three key requirements.

1. Leaders must demonstrate confidence when confronted with conflict.  Their followers will quickly sense any doubt or reluctance on the part of the leader, and loose faith in the leader’s ability to lead.  As William Wallace said in Braveheart, “People follow courage.”

2. Compassion.  When conflict arises, as it surely will, great leaders remember that the enemy is not the person causing the conflict.  The real enemy is fear.  The conflict is based on people’s incomplete or inaccurate understanding of the situation or an unmet need in their lives.  Great leaders identify the cause of the conflict and resolve it with sensitivity to all parties.

3. Leaders need to secure the consent or buy in of the people involved in and affected by the conflict.  Great leaders listen to all sides of a dispute, render a fair and impartial decision, and explain the rationale for the decision to everyone.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More