“Don’t assume, ask. Be kind. Tell the truth. Don’t say anything you can’t stand behind fully. Have integrity. Tell people how you feel.” – Warsan Shire
Being a leader is not easy, you are put into situations where you have to consider multiple aspects to make your decision.
Some of the difficult situations are – You may be asked to fire someone efficient and hard-working; there is abuse or discrimination that you need to manage, you may have to deal with narcissists.
Below are a few things that I learned from my leadership experience when I was put into a difficult situation.
Listen to all sides of the stories:
→ There is always his story, her story, and the truth. Sometimes, both sides are true with their points.
→ Sometimes one side is just being dominant over others, just because they can.
→ If it is a personal conflict between two co-workers or if it is the conflict between management, client, and a person, collect your truth by observation and communication.
Focus on the right thing to do:
→ The best approach is to be analytical and logical.
→ Talk with an appropriate group of people involved, if that is management, peer, client, human resources, ethics, or an individual. Note down all the points.
→ Decide if you can have a meeting and open conversation to resolve the issues or you will have to talk with each involved party individually to resolve the conflict
→ Note down your points and see if this is something that can be resolved amicably.
Protect yourself from being involved:
→ Be diplomatic and empathetic.
→ Remember, your task is to resolve the conflict and do not be part of that.
→ Involve Human Resource and Ethics if and as required and seek their consultation.
→ Have written records of all the communication happened as the situation can get sensitive from any party.
→ Gauge if they want to resolve an issue at all or not.
Use your intuition:
→ Use your intuition to listen to what is in between the lines, that is not communicated.
→ Come up with a resolution/solution and discuss it with each of them.
→ See where and how any compromise is required to reach to the middle ground and happy solution for everyone.
→ Try to understand the WHY behind the issue, and be realistic about the outcome.
Go with Ethics and Moral:
→ You may come to the point where your ethics and morals conflict with the situation.
→ You may disagree with the final ask but possibly you are being pressured to execute.
→ You can try to ask to leave from that leadership or group or particular conflict management.
→ If that is not possible, it could come to the point where you can choose to leave from that position.
Help who deserves to be helped:
→ Be ready to be disappointed that nothing will work, do not take anything personally.
→ Try your best, however, remember that, in the end, you are only limited to your role and authority. You will have to let go if it is not the best outcome.
→ Being a leader goes with having personal integrity, it is not limited to your role in a particular organization.
Have you been into this situation? What would you like to add?