Conflict is not a strange thing for people. Human beings experience it in their day-to-day lives. And when they happen, the idea is not to try to prevent them but rather to resolve and manage them in an effective manner. In this episode, host John Laurito shares five important elements to remember when handling conflict. Whether it’s communicating with the other person or changing your mindset about the issue, the best way to defuse a conflict is to take action toward resolution, signaling that you want to settle the conflict and repair any damage that may have been done.
[0:43] Here’s a riddle to fill your riddle cup
[1:15] Don’t assume it’s a win-loss
[4:48] People resort to text or email vs. talking and communicating
[7:24] Look at it from a different perspective
[9:01] Seek to understand; don’t assume something
[11:52] Take ownership to solve issues
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leaders so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
John All right. Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader. My faithful followers, I’ve got another riddle for you again. Yes, And I still don’t have any guesses on the last one, so I am answering less, but I am Riddle full. So here is your riddle for today to fill your riddle cup. When you stop to look, you can always see me. But if you try to touch me you can never feel me. Although you walk towards me, I remain the same distance from you. What am I? Once again, when you stop to look, you can always see me. But if you try to touch me, you can never feel me. Although you walk towards me, I remain the same distance from you. What am I? Okay. There we go. All right. Today’s topic. So this was prompted by I was having a conversation with somebody who was a very successful individual, top 5% in their organization. And. And I’m having a conversation. And up came another individual who is also in that category. Very, very successful top five in that same organization. And what proceeded to happen, which was really interesting, I read these two very successful guys who were talking and starting to talk with each other about what they’re doing, how they’re doing business.
John And it started to get from sharing some ideas or asking questions to a little bit more of challenging and, well, why aren’t you doing it this way? You should be doing this. You definitely should be doing that. Why are you not doing this? I’m doing this, and here’s how it’s working. What are you doing? And it started to intensify and it gradually got a little bit more tenuous and tense to the point where they started really getting into an argument. So this seemingly very, you know, cordial kind of conversation started to take it kind of evolve and momentum built. And it became this kind of combative conversation. And I was sitting there listening, which was a really interesting conversation. And then I said, Guys, I said, let’s just take a step back for a minute. And I pointed at one. I said, You are very, very successful, top of your game. And I said, I pointed to the other. I said, You were very, very successful. Top of your game. You guys have both figured out how to do this business and in extremely high level, better than than than almost 97, eight, 9% of people out there. You are both doing it right. You’re doing it differently. And you probably can learn some things from each other, but you’re both doing it right. It’s not like one’s right and one’s wrong. You are both right. So what’s interesting is I think a lot of times when we are addressing conflict, we’re in a situation where there’s potential, you know, an issue or something that needs to be adversity or something that needs to be addressed. We think about one person is right and one person is wrong, or we think there’s one right side and one that’s incorrect.
John And in reality, there’s many times where there’s two rights. It’s a right versus a right. And and I’m going to go through a few tips, five keys to handling really good conflict and addressing conflict. And I don’t think anybody professes to be the master at it. But these are five things that I have seen in working with leaders that ultimately help them address conflict more effectively. And this also comes from not having done it and seen it done well. We’ve all learned from mistakes. These are five keys to being able to handle and address conflict successfully. Number one is that realizing that it’s not right or wrong, in many cases it’s right versus right. It’s different versions of right. And if you can look at something through a different lens that way, suddenly that combative issue or situation where it’s us against them or you against that other person suddenly becomes you’re kind of both now on the same side of the table, Hey, we’re both doing something. Let’s actually share or let’s look at it from a different perspective and get to a better end point that way. That’s that’s that’s key number one, don’t always assume it’s a win loss. It’s oftentimes win win or right. Right versus right wrong. Here’s the second thing. I see this mistake being made all the time, and that is that people resort to text or email versus talking and communicating. And I have I can honestly say in 30 years of being in leadership, I don’t think I remember a time where a text or an email adequately resolved conflict in the best way possible, that maybe it put an end to something. Maybe. But did it ultimately do it better than a conversation? No, I’ve never seen that before.
John I’ve also seen things blow up out of total proportion because. Is the written word. Texts and emails are so often misinterpreted. You know this. How often have you read a text and you think somebody is angry and they’re not? Or you think they’re questioning you and they’re not? Or they think you’re they’re they’re being, you know, light hearted and they’re not. Maybe they’re. Maybe it’s the other side. You’re misreading the tone. You just there is no tone in the email. And it’s very hard to communicate tone and emotion through an email or accurately. It’s usually blown out of proportion. There are many, many people that are much more pugnacious. How’s that for a word? Like to fight. They’re better and more pugnacious through email, through the written word. They like to do that. They like to throw jabs. They like to be a different version of themselves that really more angry, cynical person that that pushes back and is more vocal and in person. They’re totally different. They’re much more likable. They’re much more easy to get along with. They’re much more reasonable. So realize that very, very often you’re taking you’re choosing the harder battle. When you’re going through email and text and you’re ultimately choosing one that usually will not have the best resolution. Pick up the phone. Pick up the phone and talk to somebody. I’ve seen long, drawn out battles or combative situations that ultimately get resolved with a quick phone call and a quick conversation or stop down, walked down the hall to see them go grab lunch, talk it out, whatever. That that. Spoken word. And looking at somebody and having communication and seeing their eyes is so much more effective. And if you can’t see them physically or you don’t pick up the phone, do a zoom meeting, do a teams meeting, whatever you got to do, but talk about it, don’t write about it.
John That is absolutely key. Okay, here’s key number three. Look at it from the other perspective. Even if it is, there’s a right and a wrong or there’s two various your opposite ends of the fence with somebody take a look at it from their perspective. And just given the circumstances, their environment, what their incentives are or the things that they’re trying to the battles that they’re trying to win, so to speak, the goals that they’re trying to accomplish, how does this issue affect them? And when you start to think of something from that other person’s perspective, it becomes much more easy to have a quality conversation and a productive conversation to a really good resolution. If you’re not and you’re seeing it truly, totally from one side, you’re really probably not going to have a productive conversation. So I encourage you whatever issue you might be having, you might be angry at somebody who works for you or maybe your boss. You might be angry, your significant other, your spouse because of something. Take a look at it from their perspective and sometimes not all the times, but sometimes that gives you a clue as to okay, now I understand that a little bit more maybe. I don’t totally understand, but I understand it a little bit more. I could see how they viewed what I did as X, Y, Z. I could see how they misinterpreted this. I could see how that got lost in translation. There’s oftentimes answers to why somebody did something, and we’re not seeing it right away. But when you look at it from from some other perspective, from their perspective, sometimes it becomes clear. So that’s number three. With that said. Seek to understand. Don’t assume something. Seek to understand.
John Don’t assume something. So there’s so many situations where I see people jumping to conclusions. And unfortunately, somebody’s perception is is there is my reality. So if I’m meeting with somebody and let’s say, you know, God forbid, my dog just got hit by a car and I lost my dog, I am not going to be in any kind of mental place. I’m not going to be my normal self if I’m even in that meeting. But somebody could be taking that leaving that meeting if I didn’t choose to share that and say, God, what a jerk that guy is. That Laurito cat, he didn’t even he wasn’t even paying attention to me. He wasn’t even listening to me. And he didn’t he didn’t even give me the time of day. Wasn’t he just, you know, they could totally misread that, not knowing what really has happened prior to that meeting, what’s going on that caused that guy? I there was a situation with a individual I heard this scenario play out where an individual was not was I was angry at his boss because he felt that the boss was not giving credit to him, that the boss was actually taking credit from him until it came back to him. And this was stewing and you never really address it, but it was stewing. But until it came back to him that no, actually that wasn’t the case. Somebody else came back to this individual and said, hey, I heard you did that project. And your boss said you did a great job on it. And suddenly he’s like, Wow. Oh, okay. I didn’t know that. Well, his perception was incorrect. His perception was his boss was stealing the credit, Hey, he was doing the work and his boss was taking the credit for it and stealing the accolades.
John In reality, what he didn’t see or know or hear was behind the scenes. He was absolutely giving praise to that person now. So sometimes we have to give seek to understand. And in reality, though, if if I’m the leader in that situation, the reality may be that I am giving praise. But if the person that is working for me doesn’t feel it, or they’re perceiving that I’m not, that I’m stealing that, well then that’s the reality I have to deal with, right? It doesn’t matter what reality is, it’s their perception of it, because that’s going to impact my relationship with them. That’s going to impact their willingness to follow me, that’s going to impact their performance. That’s going to impact everything that their perception becomes. My reality. Okay. Remember that perception versus reality. Their perception is my reality to deal with as a leader. So here’s number five and this is key. You have to take ownership to solve issues and things where there are conflict. Sometimes you need to address it when as things are, the waters are smooth, you have to be disruptive because unless you do that, bottling it up inside and hold it in and does nothing, zero, nothing. And I’ve lived a chunk of my life, a large portion not doing that. And it doesn’t help. And you all know who I’m talking to out there is listening. Same thing. You keep it bottled up. It does nothing when you have a conversation. More times than not, it helps the situation. It helps move through adversity. It might get worse because it’s calm waters and you’re bringing something up that’s now ruffling feathers, but it ultimately gets to a smoother point and you can get past stuff. Unless you address that, that doesn’t happen.
John It doesn’t come to you. I’ve talked to many people who are stewing about something, and I said, okay, so what happened when you talked to the person? Well, I didn’t talk to the person. Okay. Well, how do you expect anything to change unless you bring it up and have a conversation? They’re never going to know that you’re feeling this way. They’re never going to know that you’re dissatisfied. They’re never going to know your boss is never going to know that you feel underutilized unless you tell him or her. Your boss is never going to feel that you feel valued like lack of value unless you say something. You have to bring it up. If you feel like you’re being you’re not in the right role. You have to say something. You have to be the one to take ownership. Otherwise things are not going to change. You’ve heard me in the past talk about the 3% that makes the other 97% happen. I get it. Sometimes having conversations like this are really hard. They are. They’re really hard. We just General, most people don’t like conflict, especially in times of peace. So even though, you know, you’ve dealing with something that’s bubbling up and boiling over, it’s peaceful times. You don’t want to make war times you don’t want to make we want we don’t want to get out of this peaceful state. So why would I bring this conversation up? Why would I initiate conflict? Well, you do it because you have to. And sometimes. Those peaceful times are the best times to do it. Here’s here’s an easy rule. The 3% that makes the 97% happen. Just text that person. Maybe it’s your boss. Maybe it’s a significant other. Whatever. Better yet, pick up the phone.
John Or when you see them say this and just say, Hey, I have something important I really want to talk to you about. When can we set up Some time? Now you are fully committed, right? That’s all you have to do is say those words. And that’s the beauty of it. This is the 3% that makes the other 97% happen. Hey, I have something important to talk to you about. When do you have some time or. Hey, can we grab some time later today or tomorrow morning? I have something that’s really important to talk about with you. That other person is never going to let you get away with not bringing it up out of sheer curiosity. Well, okay. Well, what’s on your mind? Tell me what’s going on. That’s how you enact. That’s how you get the ball rolling. You don’t have to if you’re stressing about this big conversation that you’re going to have and maybe it’s a major conversation, maybe it’s a life conversation you have to have. You don’t have to worry. It’s not the whole conversation. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to have the whole conversation. All you have to do is say those words, Hey, I have something important to talk to you about. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. The rest will take care of itself. So think about that. I really want you to internalize that. Think about it. It’s not the whole conversation you’re stressing about way too much. You’re stressing about this big conversation you’ve got to have. You’ve been pushing it off. You’ve been delaying it, kicking the can down the road. You’re stressing way too much and pushing off something. You don’t have to do that. Put that in your mind.
John All you have to do is get the words out of your mouth or send the text and do it right now. Send the text and say, Hey, I’ve got something important I need to talk to you about. Can we talk about tonight or tomorrow morning? When can we talk about it? That’s it. That will take care of itself. Now you’re committed. It will happen. Then you can worry about what you’re going to say. But don’t. Don’t picture this huge thing. Just take it a bite at a time. That first step, that 3% is gaining buy in that you need to have a conversation and saying it’s important. I need to have a conversation. That’s it. Okay, that’s it. It’s easy at that point. It truly becomes easy when you break it down and say that it’s like my workout story. I don’t have to wake up early in the morning to go work out. All I have to do is wake up early in the morning, stand up and put my gym clothes on. That’s it. That’s all I going to do because the rest will take care of itself. I know that that’s how life works. It’s great. All right. A little life hack. So those five keys to handling conflict and again, I’ll just read those back real quick. One is realizing it’s not always right versus wrong. Sometimes it’s right versus right. It’s two rights. You’re right and I’m right. Okay, great. There is no conflict. Let’s just agree. We’re looking at something from different points of view and we both are doing something right or we’re both right in what we’re saying. Let’s now proceed from there. Secondly is talk. Don’t write, don’t text, don’t email, pick up the phone, set up a time to talk in person much, much, much more effective.
John Three is see the other side. Look at it from their perspective, not just yours. Their perspective helps you understand what somebody did that might create conflict or how they’ve made decisions. Number four is seek to understand their perception is your reality. Don’t assume something. Seek to understand. And then number five is take ownership to fix it. You have got to lead up. You’ve got to take the initiative, The 3% that makes the other 97% happen. I have something important to talk to you about. I need to talk to you about it tomorrow. Let’s set up some time. That’s it.
John All right. I hope this has been very valuable for you. Give me your feedback. Let me know as always. Like, share, subscribe, go down below, give a five star review, and I will talk to you soon. Take care.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!