Turning a Foe into an Ally

Q:  I just “parachuted” into a senior position of a subsidiary company.   What this means is that I did not have to go through the mill but just landed in this high poistion on top of many others. While this is a compliment that I have the trust and confidence of the management, there are several downsides to it.

Getting acceptance from the people is one challenge. I cannot prevent them from feeling uneasy or even suspicious about me.  Thus, I will need to give them and myself some time to get comfortable with each other.  However, my big headache  now is trying to solve conflicts in the department.  My dilemma is I am afraid I may do the wrong thing. So I am wondering whether I should leave this out for a while or jump into it.

– Parachute Man

A.  The first thing to accept is conflict in the workplace is a fact of life.  So you are not to be blamed because different people have different goals and needs, and will normally get into some conflicts, be it minor or major.

However, they still need to be solved, lest they become bigger and more serious.  While conflicts may seem “bad” as they can be damaging, there are many good outcomes if they are solved early, such as increased understanding among colleagues, stronger team cohesion and improved self-knowledge etc.

The Bottom Line:  If you choose to reframe, you will take this as a good opportunity to show your leadership abilities and qualities at a time when this is needed of you. 

When settling this, keep in mind to show respect and courtesy to all parties concerned; set clear objectives and outcomes so that the real issues can be debated without damaging work relationships, listen well to identify the core issues, and lastly be open to explore options for a good solution objectively.

Powerful questions you can ask yourself:

  • How can you turn this into an opportunity for you to show your good leadership?
  • What will you do to come up with an amicable solution for both parties?
  • What good learning can you take from here to move forward?
  • How can future occurrences be avoided from your handling of this conflict?

Article by Dr Michael Heah, an ICF Master Certified Coach with Corporate Coach Academy

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