Being Grounded – How Can a Leader Deal With Conflicts?

By Shalini Gadhia

We as leaders often face conflicts or disagreements with our superiors or team members. It is often tempting to make hasty decisions or find quick solutions. It may however pay off not to respond in the spur of the moment but to gather yourself before responding or reacting in any way.

Below are some things that can be done in case any kind of conflict arises. Since leaders are expected to take responsibility, the below tips are useful in most situations.

  1. Work on your thoughts and emotions

We all work under tremendous pressure and tend to get triggered when our colleagues don’t perform as expected. In this case it may prove difficult to control our thoughts and emotions towards them. We are likely to think ‘does he not know his job’, ‘I told him clearly how to do it’ ‘how stupid can he be’

Well guess what, this only makes your colleague more stupid! The worst thing one can do is engage a thought with emotion, as this is what brings that situation into reality.

That therefore takes us to the next step:

  1. Take time out

Most team leaders tend to draw conclusions and start looking for the next best solution to the problem. We most probably think – you know what, I will just do this by myself. Hang in there! You cannot operate without your team as you cannot do it ALL by yourself. In this case, the best thing is not to continue the conversation at that point, take a few minutes off and then resume (this can depend on the urgency of the matter, take a few minutes if a resolution is needed immediately otherwise consider tackling it the next day if it can wait).

When you take time out, consider taking a walk while you take deep breathes (a minimum of three in and three out are recommended to calm your nerves), if you don’t have a place to walk, sit in solitude for a few minutes and practice this breathing. You will feel much better after this.

Taking time out helps the mind to clear which in turn paves way for reasonable solutions and idea to come into the mind. You may notice that you feel creative/ get new ideas in your mind when you are relaxed. This is the concept that applies here. Taking time out helps to 1) Clear emotions 2) Allows the mind to have space to think about the next best thing to do.

  1. Communicate with your staff

Communication is often confused with talking. It is a two way process that entails both speaking and listening. Hence take the time to listen and understand what your staff have to say about the situation. Separate yourselves from the problem by stepping out mentally and work on the best solutions. Also always remember, it’s not you against your team, but it’s you all as a team against the challenge or problem. In addition, It may be important to note that ‘there is ALWAYS a solution, no matter what!

  1. Daily practices

As a leader, to ensure you achieve maximum results, it is important to ensure you have daily practices that help you achieve what you desire. This could include activities like daily physical exercise, meditation / mindfulness and reading. These help you keep grounded, focussed and also enable you balance emotions, thus avoiding any unwanted or regrettable actions &/or response(s).

The author is a marketing professional with 10 years of work experience across various industries.