It can feel lonely ‘at the top’ and as a leader, you undoubtedly face pressures from all angles. But after all, this is why you’re in a leadership position – it’s your job to mitigate, manage or help the team/organisation avoid issues so that it can prosper.

Except it’s not always that easy, is it? You are, after all, only human like the rest of us. When it falls on your shoulders to deliver bad news, or you need to make tough decisions about the future of the business, it’s natural to feel anxiety – no matter how senior you are. But what you can’t do is avoid issues or conflict. This piece in Inc. explores what happens when leaders turn a blind eye…

“Most people prefer to avoid conflict. There are a variety of reasons for this including the need to be liked, the pursuit for acceptance and the desire for stability in one’s life. Unfortunately, great leaders cannot lead effectively without addressing conflict as it arises within the workplace. In fact, if they choose to avoid conflict at all costs, they can put their organizations at great risk.

Here are six bad things that happen when leaders routinely avoid addressing conflict in the workplace:

  1. Communications Become Strained: A conflict that goes unresolved will only fester and cause communication breakdowns to develop within the work unit.
  2. Teamwork Diminishes: As communications become strained within a team, cooperation and teamwork will lessen and animosity will build.
  3. Productivity Suffers: You just get more done when you work together. When teamwork goes south, so does productivity. Results suffer when the sense of togetherness is gone.
  4. The “Customer Experience” is Compromised: Team dysfunction is felt by the customer every time! It emerges as poor quality and reduced service delivery.
  5. The “Best and Brightest” Leave: A consequence of continuous conflict avoidance is the departure of your best people. Those that “can,” will move on to greener pastures when their current work environment becomes unbearable.
  6. Brand Value Weakens: Over time, a firm’s brand value weakens, too. Consumers will find substitute providers that deliver higher quality products and services and better customer experiences.

What can you do to become better at addressing conflict? You can find out by reading the full article in Inc.:


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