Happy December, my friends!
It’s hard to believe it’s here already, but we’re nearing the conclusion of another full trip around the sun. We’re coming up on that time of year when people begin to congregate and celebrate – sing songs, bake treats, make memories, and come together with friends.
As you enjoy the festivities, consider what you want to build with your next 365 days of leadership… What culture do you want to encourage? What kind of behaviors do you want to model for your team? What tone are you setting for them?
Here’s an example.
When you attend your parties, your host might ask you not to bring up certain topics. The world has been so divided over so many things – so many comments can lead to a social explosion. Many hosts find it simplest to just ask guests to leave certain subjects at the door to preserve the jovial atmosphere.
And this works great for pleasant evenings. When certain talking points are off limits, you may find yourself relaxing and leaning into the spirit of the season.
But imagine what it would be like if the group got together every day…
Without the ability to broach controversial topics, what was once used to keep things light would turn things so tense. You would never be sure if what you were about to say could lead to a falling out. Eventually all conversation would stop – it would be so quiet, so boring.
Guests would start whispering amongst themselves, carrying on their own conversations in secret. Others would feel the tension and that would alienate them even more, drawing greater divides between sides.
And not only would the gathering grow cold, but everyone would miss out on the opportunity to understand each other better and to grow as people, because no one would ever be confronted with a perspective that challenged their own.
Imagine how unfortunate that would be.
Or, maybe you don’t even have to imagine…
This is how some leaders keep their culture – conflict-free on the outside, but cold and complicated on the inside. No one is talking, but no one is happy, either, and certainly, no one is growing.
As a consultant, I have worked with many “holiday host” leaders. They mean well – they have their team’s best interests at heart.
But they do not realize that it is not their job to keep their teams happy. They are to rally a team together to support a shared mission – and that will involve conflict, and conflict resolution. Conflict can even lead to a stronger and healthier workplace if dealt with properly.
Usually, I offer these leaders a few solutions to choose from…
1. The Leadership Game.
You may have heard of the Leadership Game – it is a unique team-building tool that has led to countless productive conversations among teams and their leaders.
In fact, the Leadership Game sets up a framework for a healthy model of conflict resolution. Everyone knows the ground rules; everyone has a chance to share their side of the story; and heavy topics can be addressed in a safe, controlled environment.
2. Communication Impact reports.
It is said that as much as 90% of conflict stems from miscommunication – which, if it’s true, means that better understanding among team members can eliminate the vast majority of conflict between them.
Communication Impact reports assess communication styles to see how they may be in conflict, and then explain communication needs in a universal language to bridge gaps.
Enjoy the party – one conflict-free evening is good for the soul. But if your workplace is starting to grow chilly, feel free to book a 30-minute call to see which of these solutions might help get your team back on track.
That’s all for now,
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