HOW TO PICK A FIGHT AT WORK
Todd Dewett | October 18, 2021
Conflict is not a dirty word. Great leaders know how to create and manage positive conflict to support innovation. This involves passionate debates and disagreements, but not enduring animosity. It’s about serving forward motion, creating something new and better.
Negative conflict is about persistent personality clashes, toxic behaviors, and any other form of generally unproductive negativity. We need less negative conflict and more positive conflict.
You can do this – especially if you know how to pick a fight correctly. Just follow these steps if you want to tackle a big issue and make real progress:
Gut check the odds. Be honest – do you have a snowball’s chance? Is what you are considering even reasonable according to precedent, current resources, and the wants and needs of the organization’s leadership?
Paint a picture. Can you vividly describe the interesting and valuable end state to be achieved should they decide to accept your position? Be ready to quickly describe why this is possible and so clearly worth achieving.
Stick to the facts. Make your case objective. Do not rely on opinions, innuendo, half-truths, unproven bold assertions, or your “perspective” on the matter. The more your business case is backed up with credible data, the more you will be taken seriously.
Bring your friends. Do the leg work and find out where everyone stands long before going public with your push for change. The more friends you have (i.e., those who share your view on the issue), the better your odds.
Turn lemons into lemonade. Change will meet with resistance. Be ready for it. Come prepared to articulate how your position actually helps the opposition. Long before you go public, pinpoint the few ways your position might help others with competing agendas.
Align with strategy. As opposed to selling how your proposal might benefit a particular group, shift to a strategic focus. Be able to articulate in a few short and very coherent bullets how your position supports aspects of the company’s strategic plan.
Admit your culpability! Confess your role in creating the problem. When you admit your role in the calamity, others are likely to appreciate your honesty and candor and are more likely to be positively engaged in the discussion.
Validate others’ points. When they object, don’t fight. Instead, try to find some part of the opposition’s argument with which you can agree. Your goal is to build honest mutual respect that will help them want to listen to your position too.
Offer solutions, not problems. If you are going to raise difficult issues, you need good answers. Anticipate their demand for a solution. Anticipate their major concerns and questions. Come ready with helpful ideas or consider not speaking up at all.
Get ready to volunteer! To suggest change is to volunteer to help make change happen. If there are late hours to be worked, you have to be there. If we need a new committee, be willing to serve as chair. Anticipate the workload because you’re signing up.
Hey – some things are worth fighting for, so be prepared to win!
(adapted from The Little Black Book of Leadership: https://amzn.to/3jbig94.)
WHAT’S UP WITH DR. D?
Busy, busy – catch me guesting on a popular sales-related podcast this Thursday (https://bit.ly/2YXa4lq), then next week – colonoscopy! Sorry, you can’t join me for that one. Isn’t turning 50 fun? Listen to your doctors and do what you gotta do people.
I’m at 30,000 words and climbing on the new book! It’s on pace to hit 60,000 before I’m done, making it the longest book I’ve written. Live Hard, the current titleholder, clocked in at just over 50,000. Office life, cat ears, and vampires? Gen Z is going to love this.
Sober October is proceeding wonderfully! Except that I’m compensating with too many sweets – dang it! #dadbod
My pre-recorded fifth TEDx entitled, “Leadership, Culture, and the Power of Humility” was received well by the crowd gathered in Dubai on Saturday. Huge thanks to the team at Dubai Gem Private School (video forthcoming).
Ever face a task at work that you just don’t want to do? You know you have to, but getting motivated is really tough. Try these strategies to help you keep moving forward.
Remove one obstacle. Think of one thing that makes the task difficult. Maybe it’s when you work on it, with whom you work, or the specific tools and resources you use. Can one of these variables be changed or removed?
Set up a reward. It might be a snack, a break, a minute of socializing you wish to indulge, or it could be a quick stroll outside. Define a reasonable little thing you want and then get the work done so that you can go enjoy it.
Change the process. If you normally sit, stand up. If you do it early, do it later. If you work with someone else, go solo for once. These aren’t problems per se, but when you change your process the brain reacts with more attentiveness, helping you gain focus, and very often, new insights.
Get help! One way is to simply find a helping hand to provide you with the company and extra labor. Another is to look for opportunities to delegate (if developmental for someone else), automate (if technology will allow), or outsource (if dedicated resources are available).
Until next time – stay safe, go learn something, maybe help someone, or at least do something interesting!
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All of my links in one place: https://linktr.ee/drdewett.