How to Deal With Conflict
at the heart of it is we're just dealing with people who I don't like. The ideas they don't like change. Often their bark is worse than their bite, and sometimes they're bite isn't really even that big, but they still make us feel uncomfortable. And so I thought I'd just take a minute and share some of the things I have learned and maybe offer some suggestions on How do you How do you think about conflict? First, I'd like to reframe it, I think conflict, intention or an essential part of innovation. And so if you think you can go through your professional life or your personal life without that and your job is to alleviate the tension, you're not gonna get to the best answers. I've seen that too many times to know. Tensions inevitable. It's the price of innovating on. The other thing to think about is if everyone thinks your idea is a good one, that it probably isn't. What's that says to me is you haven't invited and enough criticism. And so to me, this is also an opportunity to ask yo...
urself, Do you have enough diverse minds in giving you input for something you're seeking to dio, Are you forming teams for your project for your company, for your church group, where you're bringing in enough opposing points of view? Now, you as a team leader, you've signed up for a really hard job because you've just said I am increasingly bringing in more tension. Me is an introvert in extroverts arena. I have perhaps felt more sympathy for it, but sometimes it could be a simple is bringing in someone who's introverted, the quiet voice asking them to synthesize what they've done, have a different perspective. It could be a team of lawyers, and you're bringing an engineer, a team of engineers and you're bringing in ah, lawyer. One of the first things I had to learn was to invite in the criticism and inviting critics, and I want to differentiate a little bit about this because there's a difference between the people who I say no. So they just hate everything. Um, I think SNL called them Debbie Downers. They're probably not allowed. We have a whole of this thing we can talk about with them, but these are the people who are thoughtful, but they just have a different way of looking at it, they to believe in a better way. They just see a different way of doing it. Do you have the fortitude to invite them in? I've often found that this is one of the best ways to get a better discussion, and often not only do they bring better ideas, but they get invested in the idea. They make it their idea in the middle of conflict, Can you accept that conflict is happening? I mean, that's part of the process. You have to be able to accept it. Um, it's hard because when people come after you or your team, it's hard not to take it personally. I as somebody who's taken things incredibly personally at times, it's hard to separate the idea from the criticism against the idea to yourself. Can you? Can you create some space for that? Identify it? Is there really an issue here that we're trying to deal with? I I like the idea of giving it a name, sometimes caught something really funny, right? The team. We're having a conflict. We're going to call this Jell O ha ha Look at it's really funny. We're gonna call it something else because it's a way to give us some distance. It's a way to, ah, to set up some some push, some wayto get the team together, and then you got to keep talking about it. So conflict is inevitable are I was in a situation. I worked at NBC a couple of times. The last time I was there is leading digital transformation and some amazing things happen. Some not so amazing things happen. We acquired a women's online community that didn't go so well. We did apps eating something called hoo That did go well. But what happened was we created this digital team and we sort of pitted what we kind of created a cool kid dynamic against the people have been there a long time. So it was like, You just don't get it, do you? Versus the dinosaurs And I've seen this dynamic happen a lot. And before you know what, we were warring tribes. It was our team against your team. Yet we worked for the same company and we were in the middle of huge digital disruption. If I take you back to the year 2000 and six, When this first started YouTube had just come onto the scene. And at the time, if you were in the broadcasting world, it was equal parts amusement and fear amusement because you're like it wasn't that's so cute Cats playing the piano on video. It's so cute, and then quietly you'd shriek in fear because you'd be like we don't know how to produce those kind of videos were afraid. And so I wasn't charged with bringing kind of the change group and the Disruptors, and we set out to do just that. But we kind of left everybody else out. We were the cool kids, and before you know it, we're creating these warring tribes. And I were. One day I picked up The New York Post, which was a tabloid in New York City, and there's a famous gossip column. They're called Page six, and I picked up and there was a big article about me and my college. Some of my colleagues or someone had leaked to them a story about me and one of the lines was basically, you know, was kind of like, Who does she think she is? And why is she here? And when she sent as a spy from the corporate headquarters, and they said She's so stealth. She'll take out your kidney and you don't even know what's gone well at the time was devastated and hindsight. And maybe it was a compliment, but But it was. It was just to have that warfare pulled out on the pages of a local gossip column was horrible. That's no way to run a company, and and what I did was I bought into the warring tribes and it became us against them. I almost lost my job out of it. It was the closest I came to being fired. My boss later told me I almost a lot of fire me at the time because I would. I called. I dove off the balcony into the mosh pit. I lost my perspective. I got to entrenched in our ideas in our way versus the other. So what should I have done? Well, I think the other warring try. We could have created mechanisms where we were coming together to make joint decisions where we didn't assume they just don't get it. Do they? Were we shared budget where we actually got to know one another as people. We went out for coffee or drinks or karaoke E or something as opposed to those people over there who just don't get it. We didn't have fun. We didn't give it a name and say, Isn't this so silly that we've caught ourselves into this position? And at the end of the day, we're fighting over budget and responsibility and a claim that we could have done together. So I share that just to say, I've seen how conflict can derail efforts. And I've also been, you know, through that Lauren very much the opportunity to create those kind of shared mechanisms. So, um, I'm gonna stop right here on conflict, cause this is usually a point where people have a lot of questions about how do I deal with people I don't get along with? How do I navigate through So any thoughts on this and he may be anything you want to share some. I know a lot of introverts who don't like conflict of any kind, and I feel like debating gets a lot of information out from both sides so that you can actually solve a problem that's occurring. Yes, as an introvert, How have you dealt with conflict through like in your career? If you could give some examples. Well, I think that's a great question. I mean, as an introvert, I am. I do hold back and I am more quiet. You know, Introvert is also about conserving your energy, so you kind of choose where to put your energy and usually stop in the fight. So, um, I had to create different one. And to get over myself a little bit, I had to say, like, I have to come. Him have well articulated points of view. I could remain quiet. I had to be heard. Try to push myself out there. I couldn't just say, Well, I'm an introvert, so I can't argue. I also don't like conflict in front or in introvert or not. I like diplomacy. That's my thing. But sometimes you can't avoid it. So some of these kind of things help made, you know, go to a critic and say, Can you What do you think? How do you make this better? At its back to Jules, Point asked for help. Like, here's an idea, but I don't know. What do you think it's a seed of an idea I don't know to start. What do you think? So that would be, you know, Teoh intentionally invite in some of those points of ah, of criticism would be some of the ways I like the role of using introverts are having different roles for introverts as well. So I find introverts as I'm again stereotyping, but were often very good as observers as synthesizers. So maybe we're the ones that come in when you've had the Red Team blue team, and we kind of synthesised what's been said on the one hand. On the other hand, here's a good way, you know, they were really good taking all that in, So maybe that's a good role for us to kind of help bring some clarity to what we've what we've just heard. But the end of the day you do have to take a point of view. You do have to take a stand, and I think that's what I'm trying to argue for. Here is, conflict is inevitable. Gage. I'm a big believer in holding space for voices that aren't normally heard, like introverts or people that aren't invited to conversation. But I also don't like forcing people to take a risk and express their opinion in a place that might not feel safe. So, do you have any techniques for getting some of that feedback and getting their voices heard without putting them at risk? Yeah, I think that's an excellent point. I mean, that is also with as an introvert, I've you I use this technique a lot, but you have to know the people will be like Gage, you know? What do you think? Um and But hopefully we would have had that conversation of front. You'd be OK with me calling on you, but maybe somebody else's filibustering in the meeting. And as a team leader, I try to pull that out on you. Another tactic is to come and say gauge, Could you give me three ideas that you came out of for the meeting as a follow up? So maybe you weren't able to express it then, but could you send me something afterwards? Could you give me a point of view again? Recognizing that the form wasn't the right way to put you on the spot or ask the team here, I want you to think about this I mean to me and an innovation and ideation. There's a time to come together and there's a time to do it apart. And so I also think you need to give people space reflect on what you've heard here. I want to come back in two days and gauge. I'm going to start with you. I'd like you to give us Ah, a couple of thoughts. So you've given some points of view. So your to your point you're creating that space. Your orchestrating it. Um, I think one of the things Teoh think about is, um you are creating this kind of 12 tone symphony in conflict, right? And if if you're not or calling on the right instruments at the right time, it descends into chaos and it sounds horrible. So it is about of knowing people's roles and knowing how to use them in. That is why I think you're sparks can play a really good role because they can often make the arguments. Those people from the outside they can often say the things you can't or your team can't to your boss, to your client. So I often use those provocation product provocateurs from the outside to come in and say the things I can't say, so that may be another way to think about in injecting some of the conflict.