This will often require you to meet individually with those involved
and then bringing them together to agree a way forward.
You could just tell them to stop, as is often done, but don’t think that
this resolves the conflict, it simply buries it. It will continue, but will
just be hidden from you.
In many cases, you will not be able to reach a suitable resolution – particu-
larly if it is a matter of two individuals simply disliking each other. When
this happens, you must impose the required result. You cannot get them to
like each other, but you can define the behaviour that you are prepared to
accept from them. Then you must monitor compliance with what you have
imposed. Failure to comply should have consequences, as you must send
out a consistently strong message that you will not accept destructive con-
flict within the team.
In the coming days and weeks, start to pay particular attention to conflict
situations you see arising at work. As you do, think about:
Is this constructive or destructive conflict?
What are the reactions of those involved?
Is there lots of emotion with little rationality?
Are they focused on real issues or arguing about irrelevancies?
Who is trying to resolve it?
How was it resolved?
If it is not resolved, is it having wider effects within the team?
What can you learn from it to help you in future as a leader?
Keep a note of your thoughts for later use.
Coping with change
Change is a fact of life in any business today and, as a leader, you will have
to be comfortable in dealing with it. In terms of handling change, as a
general rule, the more involvement people have in determining the nature
and direction of changes affecting them, the more easily they will buy into
READ_C08.QXP 1/10/07 12:04 Page 99
and support the implementation process. The reverse is also true of course
and the more powerless they feel, the more resistance you will see. This is
not so hard to figure out, but the reality of work is that not all changes can
be implemented through consultation. There are many aspects to change
and again it is not feasible to address them all here but rather to give you
a general sense of what to look out for.
You must become an enthusiastic promoter of change, not for the sake of it,
but when it brings about better results. But don’t expect everyone else to feel
the same, because you will invariably encounter quite a few negative reactions.
Frequently Asked
Some people can never cope with change; how should I deal with
Most people are willing to grasp change readily, depending
upon how it is presented and handled. However, there are
others who fear it and fight it as much as they can. The
important point for you to recognise is that there is a human
dimension to handling change which has to be addressed at
some stage during the process. Better to try to deal with dis-
content or fear at the outset, than to ignore the natural human
reactions and deal with rebellion at a later stage. Of course,
there are those who instinctively resist change but the
majority of people often have valid concerns surrounding
So when you hear things like ‘that’ll never work here’, don’t
immediately see this as the negative sign it appears to be at face
value. What it often means is ‘convince me’ and helping your
team to cope with change will often require a selling process on
your behalf, particularly in an environment where there have
been a lot of ineffective changes made in the past.
Remember, you cannot move people from fear of change to commitment in
one single step and your initial goal should always be just to get people to
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