It’s fascinating observing people when they are in conflict with another person. Some are open to ‘feedback” let’s call it, genuinely wanting to understand the problem and work to a solution. Others will argue the point, inflaming the situation. They need to justify or blame others, deflecting responsibility to make themselves feel better. You’ll generally find them moaning and groaning to others, getting them onside, again to make themselves feel better. You’ll notice the reference is all about them! They play the victim.
When client service is involved, that is when leadership is needed. In business, the client is king. They are the bread and butter of the business. No client, no cash flow. No cash flow, no business. And so it goes. So why do so many people refuse to accept responsibility in business?
A bit of an unrelated example, though it’s a great example of leadership in conflict, was Michael Clarke, current captain of the Australian Cricket team, when a 17-year-old gatecrasher at a media conference confronted him. It is no secret that Clarke is out of form. It is no secret he’s not happy about it either and desperately wants to improve. It is very personal to him and I’m guessing a sore spot right now, denting confidence. So how would you handle a 17-year-old offering batting advice to you if you were in his shoes? Michael Clarke handled it extremely well, asking the 17 year old for his advice and declaring to try it out at his next practice session. Admirable! Really admirable! I’m not sure I would have handled that situation so well especially when something incredible important to me is challenged. Good leadership Michael Clarke.
Take out of that example what you will. The true test of a person is when they are challenged, when they are confronted or when they are in conflict. The true character of a person is revealed. What does it reveal for you? A true leader? A solution focused, empathetic, responsible person or someone who has to justify, who can’t be wrong and has to blame to maintain your belief that you can do no wrong?
Be conscious of how you handle situations and if you do not handle them well, seek help to assist you to work through the issues. In business, you can’t afford to be like this, especially now when genuine, authentic and true leadership is demanded of business leaders. To be a great role model, you must be able to handle conflict with staff, clients and peers alike. The success of your business depends on it.