3 golden skills we think every manager should have in their tool kit are self-awareness, empathy and positivity. 

 

Self-Awareness: Shining a Light on Your Contributions

We all know that it can be easy to slip into negativity and point fingers when someone messes up. 

 

But let’s face it, no one wants to work in a blame culture and “toxic” is not a value that anyone wants to be labelled with.

 

Having a greater self-awareness about your own reactions and your role in conflicts allows you to determine whether you are fuelling the fire or extinguishing it.

 

Here are some self-awareness questions you can ask yourself and others who are in conflict:

  • How do I feel about this situation? Calm or raging?
  • If I’m not calm, what is triggering me? The situation or the other person, and why?
  • How might my behaviour contribute to this conflict?
  • How am I interpreting their behaviour, and how might they be interpreting mine?

 

By reflecting on these questions, we gain valuable insights into our own behaviours and can adopt a more constructive approach to conflict resolution.

 

Empathy: Unlocking All Perspectives 

We know that "putting yourself in their shoes" may sound like a tired old cliché, but it holds the key to understanding all perspectives of a conflict.

 

We’re all busy with a never-ending to-do list, so it’s only natural to get stuck in our own thoughts. Especially when dealing with people remotely, it’s easy to unwittingly lose sight of others' feelings.

 

Approaching conflicts with empathy allows us to truly understand the situation at hand. It opens the door to deeper understanding and stronger connections. To develop your empathetic approach, ask yourself these guiding questions:

 

  • What assumptions am I making about the other person? What assumptions might they be making about me?
  • What might be going on for the other person that I don’t know about?
  • If this conflict is affecting me negatively, how might it be impacting the other person?
  • How would I like this conversation to be handled if the shoe was on the other foot?

 

Remember, empathy is a powerful tool that allows us to connect on a human level, fostering understanding and transforming difficult conversations into opportunities for growth and collaboration.

 

It can also allow you to really think about how you approach a conversation, approaching it in the right way might just give you the outcome you’re looking for, approaching it in the wrong way could be a recipe for disaster. 

 

 

Positive Intention: Responding with Purpose

Instead of reacting impulsively, take a moment to pause and consider how you want to respond (hint hint: this should be in a positive and constructive way). 

One of our top tips is to explicitly communicate the purpose of a meeting when inviting someone to it. By providing clarity around the meeting's intention, you can alleviate anxiety and give the other person the opportunity to prepare their thoughts and emotions beforehand. 

For example, instead of sending a generic meeting request, acknowledge the problem at hand. Let them know that you would like to speak with them about a project that didn't go as planned, and that you are interested in hearing their perspective.

By setting this positive and transparent tone, you create an environment for open and productive conversations that encourage growth and learning.

 

Armed with these golden skills in your toolkit, you can confidently navigate difficult conversations, fostering understanding, collaboration, and a culture of growth in your workplace. 

If you're looking to sharpen your skills further, we run interactive coaching sessions on this exact subject, so reach out to our team to discuss a tailored training workshop for your management team.

 

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