Why is conflict so hard? In the workplace and also in personal relationships conflict can be hazardous to the wellbeing of two people when and if it is not handled properly. It can weaken trust, create distance, and threaten bonds which are not that strong. As a leader it is important to be able to handle conflict in a way that is healthy. So how can you handle conflict in a way which furthers and enhances relationships instead of being detrimental to them?
- Understand your feelings - first determining what it is that you are feeling and why. What is triggering you? What is upsetting you? What about the situation is bringing up emotions for you?
- Determine what needs to be communicated - once you identify your feelings lean into figuring out the facts associated with the feeling. What is logically making you upset so that you can determine whether you need to communicate it or not. If it something that needs to be communicated in order to further/deepen a relationship figure out what the non-emotional way to present it is.
- Go into the conversation with positive intention - typically people are trying the best that they can. If you can go into the conversation with the mindset that neither person has bad intent then you can come from a positive place looking for a win-win solution for both people or a compromise that can work for both of you.
- Make the conversation safe for the other person - ask questions and determine where the other person is coming from. Listen to their perspective, try to understand where they are coming from. As Steven Covey says "seek first to understand, rather than being understood."
- Find the win-win solution for both sides - through the dialogue determine what could be a good solution for both people. Once you understand the other side you may determine it was a miscommunication and/or find empathy for the other person. Focus on ways to continue to work together and make the situation work for both sides.
How do you handle conflict? Is it detrimental to your relationships and/or constructive and positive? If it is destructive which of the above steps can you begin to focus on in order to shift?
What does spiritual health mean in the leadership context? It is not focused on anybody's particular religious faith, but it does focus on aligning to one's core, finding deeper purpose and meaning, and integrating more generously with others. In the business capacity this all comes into play for these areas often root us in what is important, has us align to our deepest values and vision for ourselves, and helps to interact with others in a way that exudes that spirit.
So how can leaders enhance their spiritual health?
Align to our core - this is where leaders focus on their individual values and beliefs and really get in tune with them. What is important to them, how can they align their actions to their beliefs, and how can they truly act out of their own morals and ethics? These are the key indicators of us feeling like we are satisfied with our progress.
Finding our deeper purpose - as we align to our core, leaders naturally then begin to take action out of what they value. Leaders who are truly aligned to their purpose work on things that they are passionate about whether it be helping people, teaching, being selfless, etc. It is putting into practice our deepest values and making that part of what we do.
Integrating more generously with others - as we become more in tune with our own deepest purpose we can exude that to others in our spirit as well knowing that each of us is doing the best that we can. Each of us has the potential to live up to our highest purpose and the more generous we are towards each other the better.
So are you aligned to your core values? Have you found your deeper purpose? If not how can you discover those things?
Mental health in the context of leadership means how the leader is stretching their intellectual capacity such as problem solving, decision making, and expanding your horizons. Mental health is made up of three major components: intellectual curiosity, continual learning and growing, and creativity. These three components allow leaders to explore new ways of operating, refine their thinking, and enhance their capacity to lead by staying ahead of the curve. So what specifically can leaders to do increase their mental health and wellbeing?
Intellectual curiosity - being curious and with a learner's mindset. If a leader sees a problem then they can become more curious to figure out how to solve it. They can also ask others their opinions, perhaps read about the situation, and/or do some research to enhance their problem solving abilities.
Continual learning and growing - this is even when there is no problem, continually being adaptive in your mindset, being open to new ideas, taking training classes, reading current events and/or books, and being open to continually growing the mental capacity. As a leader does this it models to others the need for leaning and growing as well.
Creativity - being open to tapping the creative powers enhances and relaxes the mind to allow it to be much more open, vulnerable, adaptive, and flexible. Through this leaders can think outside of the box, develop new ways of operating, and enhance their openness to new ideas.
What can you do to increase your mental health as a leader?
Emotional health is the second component of wellbeing which is critical for leaders. What is emotional health? Well it is the ability to balance one's emotions during the ups and downs of day to day life. Leaders, as all human beings, face challenges as well as successes. Emotionally healthy leaders are able to manage their emotions during those challenges, stay positive, and be flexible to change course when need be. Emotional health can be the key to successful relationships, interactions in the organization, and the growth of an organization.
So what can leaders do to enhance their emotional health?
Mindfulness - learning to calm the mind and focus either on the breath and/or a word or phrase can help in balancing the mind. It can also increase self-awareness, presence, and understanding of the emotions that arise within and create the ability to stand apart from them.
Lean into a social network - with the ups and downs that leaders face it is important that they have a social support system to lean on. This may be a spouse, friends, or colleagues who can support, encourage, and/or be a sounding board during tough times and people to celebrate with during the good times.
Focus on the positive - when things don't go as leaders expect it can be easy to become angry or upset. Emotionally healthy leaders are able to quickly reframe the challenging event, however, into an opportunity or a positive challenge by not dwelling on the negative.
How emotionally healthy are you? If you can improve your emotional health what can you begin to implement today to start to do that?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.