Most people do not like to deal with conflict in relationships. Conflict worsens when you’re not clear in what you really want, and don’t listen to what the other person is really trying to say.
This kind of breakdown in communication can be detrimental to both personal and professional relationships. Unresolved conflicts lead to distrust, resentment, gossip, political BS maneuvering, and an overall unhealthy culture in the workplace (or the home, depending on where it’s happening!). And the more time that goes by and someone’s feelings are not addressed, the more likely it is that the person is going to shut down or even attack.
This kind of buildup can happen more in some industries than others. For us, we are in an industry that is driven by engineering and project management, meaning feelings really take a backseat. Unfortunately, this results in a perfect environment for the creation of conflict and all the negative ramifications that result from ignoring it.
Even if you’re not the one involved in the conflict, the environment of your workplace and build up of conflict all starts with you as the CEO. How you deal with the relationships with your direct reports will set the tone for how they deal with theirs and so on throughout the company. Many CEOs underestimate the negative impact avoiding dealing with conflict has on the culture of their company.
I was once a CEO who not only avoided dealing with conflict but who was caught up in it too. While I was running Roth Bros., Inc., something I did for 15 years, I had trouble dealing with conflict until I brought in a coach who gave me a system to tackle it head on: the Clean Talk Model.
I’m here to tell you it worked. And now I want to introduce you to the Clean Talk Model so that you can use it to resolve conflict within your company. Refer to the two PowerPoint pages attached that will walk you through the process.
In the beginning, I had the coach facilitate a few sessions with me and my direct reports during which time we got clean with each other. This process was very powerful. Yet it was also a painful process because it wasn’t until then that I realized how my actions or lack of actions were interpreted by some of my direct reports. Getting clean with someone restores trust, shows you care about them, and helps the relationship heal. I credit this Clean Talk cleanse with unifying our team and creating an environment where we produced best-in-class industry performance.
Who on your team do you need to get clean with? Or—just as importantly—which one of your direct reports needs to get clean with you? Use the Clean Talk Model to move past this conflict and unlock your organization’s potential.