Dealing with the Fear of Conflict often requires us to put ourselves in another person’s shoes, so to speak. There are many varieties that occur within this single fear. The Fear of Conflict may adapt and morph in your own environment.
What If I Told You The Fear of Conflict Has Nothing To Do With Being Afraid To Have Conflict?
The dominant leader who fearlessly dives headfirst into conflict doesn’t have the Fear of Conflict, right? WRONG!
Our definition of conflict can be a few degrees off. Is our definition of conflict about lack of conformity on our team, or healthy debate from wise counsel?
Without healthy debate, diversity of experience, and unbridled insight from our best people the best ideas won't thrive and float to the top.
Conflict Isn’t Always What You’ve Come To Visualize
Conflict can hide within you, and within the subconscious of your team members. If you are going to lead successfully, the importance of recognizing hidden conflict is much more powerful than dealing with obvious and active conflict.
Here are some visible signs the Fear of Conflict is affecting your business:
- Team members have been conditioned to be subdued rather than addressing your leadership with difficult topics.
- Team members have become dormant.
- Team members feel there are no opportunities to learn, grow or make contributions.
- Team members will tell you only what you want to hear.
- You say to yourself, “who knows more about my business than me!?”
- You have paid someone for their expertise and ultimately didn't listened to a single thing they told you.
- You secretly seek a team of people who will support your existing hypothesis.
Fear brings bias. Bias blocks the best ideas. Fear of Conflict keeps our best people away.
As leaders, we believe the very definition of leadership is having influence over others. Having influence means we will gain consensus. We will make certain everyone AGREEs with us. By this logic, if anyone doesn't agree with us, we don’t have influence. And, by definition we’re not good leaders. See how that works?
Doesn't it look crazy when you read this circular logic? But that’s how fear is.
Take time to ask for your team’s ideas. Don’t focus on prevailing and winning.
View the complete Audio Library for the more in our series, 10 Common Leadership Fears