Human nature is a funny thing. After years in an executive role, I’m still amazed at some reactions to negative situations, especially from executives. When a conflicting situation arises, too often managers and executives immediately form an opinion about what’s right and wrong. However, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Good leaders take the time to listen to both sides of a story before forming an opinion and acting on it. When I hear an individual complain about someone else, I try imagining what the other person might be saying or thinking. Nothing is as simple as he said/she said or he did/she did. When emotions are involved it adds to the challenge of sorting through it all and coming up with a reasonable conclusion. This ability to wade through different perspectives before acting, is the sign of a great leader.
Here are three things to consider when trying to come to a mutually satisfying resolution:
Gather the facts
Listening to both sides of a position is critical when coming up with a plan of action. You must go into it with an open mind and without emotional distraction. When you have one side of the story, it is practically impossible to come to any solution.
Don’t Rush to Judgement
Timing is everything. When conflict arises, it’s imperative that you don’t rush to judgement but also act in a timely manner. It goes without saying that the more complex the issue, the longer it may take to gather the facts. Letting both parties know you are working to first understand the situation before weighing-in is important. Remember, the longer it takes to start providing solutions, the deeper the emotions become and harder it is to reach an effective resolution.
Look for a Positive Outcome
Life is too short, and there always seems to be conflict. When you find yourself in the midst of conflict, aim to develop a workable resolution. If you find that no matter how hard you try, and differences remain intractable, seek out professional help. You can’t resolve every issue on your own.
Remember, there are always two sides to every story and great leaders take the time to listen to both. This doesn’t apply to just the work place either. Demonstrating these skills show respect and trust to those around you.
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