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IREM White Paper on Leadership Development: Conflict Management (Download)

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The IREM Job Analysis identifies conflict management as one of the critical leadership competencies required of property and asset managers. One of the common myths is that conflict is inherently bad and should be minimized or avoided at all costs. On the contrary, properly managed conflict can lead to greater innovation, performance, and even improved cohesion within a team—creating an environment for open and honest discussions. Of course, if it’s not managed properly, conflict can also have the opposite results.

One of the best tactics for managing conflict is known as mental jiujitsu—avoid pitting your strength against your opponent’s directly; instead, use your skill to step aside and turn their strength to your ends. In other words, absorb the energy of your opponent and use it to manage their behavior.

So how do you do that? If pushed, do not push back:

  1. When they assert their positions, do not reject them: Ask them to explain their position. How does it achieve their interests (helping to learn more about their real interest)? Why do they think it is a fair and reasonable solution?
  2. When they attack your ideas, don’t defend them: Ask them to explain why your ideas won’t help achieve their interests. Ask them to help you understand why they don’t think it’s a fair and reasonable solution.
  3. When they attack you, don’t counterattack: Sidestep their attack and deflect it against the problem. If someone says, “You’re just being selfish about this,” respond by saying “Well, let’s look at the problems and maybe it will help me understand why you think I’m being selfish.” If someone is using unfair tactics, simply call them out on it, “It sounds like you can’t make a final decision on this. Perhaps I should talk to the person who can, or postpone our discussion until you get more direction.” Generally, when the other person knows that you know an unfair tactic is being used, they will stop using it.

Copyright: 2013
Format: PDF; 6 pages

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