Navigating Conflict in a Growing Business

May 19, 2023 | Listen

Navigating Conflict in a Growing Business

As a business owner, navigating conflict within your business is unavoidable part of growing your company. Any kind of conflict, no matter how small can get uncomfortable, stressful, and even overwhelming. It’s natural to want to procrastinate and not have to deal with the problem at all. However, delaying these talks can lead to bigger issues for your business.

So, how can you as a leader, approach these conversations with more confidence, ease, and effectiveness?

In this episode, our guest Sheila Lambert and I discuss how to handle conflicts and manage these “difficult conversations” so that they will be productive and have a positive outcome. She shares tips on preparing for these “tough talks” and how empathy and active listening can help the situation.



Timestamps for this week’s episode

  • 03:04 On navigating conflict and having productive “difficult conversations” with employees and clients

  • 05:07 Navigating conflict by understanding the other party’s perspective

  • 12:41 Supporting hesitant employees in difficult conversations

  • 27:19 Guidelines for addressing cultural differences in tough conversations

  • 33:06 Actionable step to take this week for approaching a challenging conversation

On navigating conflict and having productive “difficult conversations” with employees and clients

  • Identify the type of conversation and whether it’s about you, the other person, or a situation. This will help you understand your perspective and prepare accordingly.
  • Reflect on any actions or words that may have led to the conflict and try to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  • Think about possible outcomes and have a plan for how to address them.
  • Actively listen and remain professional during the conversation.
Having difficult conversations is important, but preparing for it is ultra important.

Navigating conflict by understanding the other party’s perspective

In a difficult conversation, it’s important to understand the other person’s perspective.

One way to do this is to prepare yourself by:

  • Setting the stage and identifying what you need to leave behind in order to focus on the other person.
  • Considering who the other person is and why you anticipate the conversation will be difficult.
  • Ask yourself if something else might be going on with them that you need to understand before jumping into the conversation.
  • Trying to see things from their point of view and thinking about how they might be feeling.

“Prepare for the (difficult) conversation with tactical tools: preparing questions, knowing what to leave behind, and practicing active listening. That’s really where the magic begins to happen.” – Sheila Lambert

Supporting hesitant employees in difficult conversations

By creating a psychologically safe environment and fostering open communication, you can help your employees feel more comfortable and confident in speaking out / airing out their concerns.

  • Approach them with care and compassion, using open-ended questions to understand their perspective.
  • Avoid asking accusatory questions, which can put them on the defensive and make them feel unsafe.
  • This is a good time to look within yourself and your organization as well. Assess leadership styles and the culture of your workplace; could they be contributing to the issue?
Understanding people - where they come from, what's important to them, and what their values are, is critical in setting the stage for open dialogue and communication.

Guidelines for addressing cultural differences in tough conversations

When you are communicating with someone from a different cultural background, it’s important to be mindful of potential cultural differences that could impact the conversation.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be aware of cultural differences. Different cultures may have different communication styles, customs, and norms so adjust your communication style accordingly.
  • Be respectful and empathetic to build trust and create a more positive outcome.
  • Use simple language and avoid jargon for clarity and to limit the chances of misunderstandings.
  • Ask for feedback and clarification to ensure that both parties are on the same page.

Actionable step to take this week for approaching a challenging conversation

Before diving into the conversation, make sure you are rested and you’re in the right mindset. It’s hard to be productive and effective if you’re not feeling your best.

Prepare for the conversation as well, think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. It’s also important to anticipate potential responses, so you’re not caught off guard during the conversation.

Practice active listening and understand the other person’s point of view and finally, find support or someone to coach you to give you the confidence to tackle the conversation.


Summary

  • Proper preparation is crucial when having difficult conversations with employees or clients.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes by seeing things from their point of view, leaving behind personal biases, understanding their feelings, and assessing if something else might be going on with them.
  • Foster open communications by creating safe spaces and assessing leadership styles and your culture.
  • Be mindful of potential cultural differences when dealing with team members from other countries and adjust your communication style accordingly.
  • Manage difficult conversations by preparing potential responses, engaging in active listening, and finding support to boost your confidence.

Transcript

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About guest – Sheila Lambert

President and Founder

Lambert Leadership Coaching, LLC

Sheila Lambert is the President and Founder of Lambert Leadership Coaching, LLC. She brings over 30 years of experience as a therapist and Executive Coach, empowering thousands of women who advanced in their careers and are at the forefront of their companies through self-discovery.

Sheila works creatively and collaboratively with organizations to help elevate and advance their leaders. Aside from having over 450 hours of academic training and over 1700 hours in ongoing continuing education training, Sheila has an MS in Organizational Leadership and an MS in Counseling.

Website: https://lambertleadershipcoaching.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheila-lambert-ms-mladc-lcs-cwwa-3a074531/

Email: sheila@lambertleadershipcoaching.com

Rise Up: A Women’s Leadership Program for Women on the Rise – A strong program designed to deepen your leadership skills, execute your impact and accelerate your career!


About host – Kathy Svetina

Kathy Svetina is a Fractional CFO for growing women-owned businesses with $3M+ in annual revenue.

Clients hire her when they’re unsure about what’s going on in their finances, are stressed out by making financial decisions, or need to structure their finances to keep up with their growth.

She solves their nagging money mysteries and builds a financial structure with a tailored financial strategy. That way they can grow in a financially healthy and sustainable way.

Kathy is based in Chicago, IL and works with clients all over the US.

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