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In the realm of effective leadership, a delicate balance emerges between being Highly Assertive and Highly Helpful—akin to a skilled coach.

Envision the most impactful coach you’ve encountered: they build trust effortlessly, communicate effectively, empower others, forge strong teams, accomplish tasks efficiently, and navigate conflicts with finesse.

Yet, an intriguing paradox surfaces when we delve into assertiveness. Society, families, and workplaces often discourage assertiveness due to its perceived association with conflict. Many leaders, in their quest to avoid conflict, inadvertently slip into the Hero role—highly helpful but low on assertiveness. However, employees don’t need rescuers; they need guides.

So, let’s ponder change. All change inherently involves conflict; without conflict, positive change remains elusive. The pivotal question arises: What form of conflict empowers a leader to be both Highly Helpful and Highly Assertive? The conflict continuum, ranging from Destructive to Constructive with an Ideal Point of Conflict, sheds light on this.

Our firm’s cultural ethos defines culture as “Ordinary People, Getting the Right Stuff Done.” The conflict continuum underscores that proactive conflict teeters on the edge between Constructive and Destructive Conflict.

Acknowledging that the ideal point of conflict is close to the destructive end, the focus shifts to how a leader can engage in conflict without veering into destructiveness. Balancing the needs of your team and aligning them with your company’s goals provides a framework for fostering necessary change.

Leadership practice tips:

  • Share the Necessity of Change: Communicate openly that change is a constant in our business landscape.
  • Proactively Embrace Change: Set the goal to lean into change, both from external and internal forces, to stay ahead.
  • Highlight the Connection Between Change and Progress: Emphasize that without change and conflict, there can be no meaningful progress or protection for business and its people.
  • Start with Intention Statements: Initiate discussions with intention statements, framing the conflict to enhance effectiveness or efficiency.

Effective leadership lies in embracing conflict as a catalyst for positive change, ensuring that it remains within the realm of constructive engagement. By adopting these leadership practice tips, leaders can steer their teams through conflicts, fostering an environment where progress and efficiency thrive.

Contact KBD Consulting to learn more about our Leadership Development Program: Adaptive Leadership: Concepts to Real World Practice.

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