TAG Consulting

Conflict Isn’t Unusual, And It’s Not Bad

June 13, 2016


If we have the wrong attitude toward conflict, it will be impossible to face the emerging conflicts within our lives and deal with them effectively. We realize that the word “conflict” is emotionally loaded. Many people associate conflict with destructive images of people shouting at one another, of gangs shooting at each other, of countries bombing one another.

Certainly, there are conflicted situations!

But conflict at its core involves disagreements, differing ideas and opinions, and discrepant evaluations and judgments.

Let’s look at that simple statement again – Conflict at its core simply involves disagreement.

“Conflict” can be a scary word. “Disagreement” isn’t necessarily a fun word, but it doesn’t tend to terrify. We can reframe our understanding of “conflict” to disagreement and have a fruitful starting place.

People are different. Each person walking this earth has a different slant on things, different ways of seeing what is unfolding, different strategies for dealing with all of the situations life throws at us.

Issues regarding conflict are confusing. Is conflict good or bad? How do I manage it? And on and on…

Let’s  put one proposition on the table up front: conflict is necessary and beneficial – at least conflict that is focused properly  is beneficial. It is only when conflict strays away from issues and begins to access our personal stories that it becomes unmanageable and destructive.

I Can’t Change You…But I Can Change ME!

June 13, 2016


When we’re transforming a culture, it’s easy to get frustrated when the pace of change seems too slow.

We encounter opposition, resistance and fear and find ourselves becoming both anxious and angry at those who we believe are standing in the way.

It is at those moments that we need to be reminded of this truth about change – the leader herself must change first!

This is hard for us to understand. We think others are the problem – they are obstacles, or opponents, or deadwood, even if they are well-intentioned. But a key component of self management is understanding that in any conflict I bring my “stuff” the the table too. And my stuff is not all helpful!

We love to say “The problem is you…so know yourself”.

Here is why that works.

I cannot change you – at least in the long run. But I can change me. And if I can change me, I can change the dynamic that has us in opposition. At the very least, if I change me I open up more options for both of us.

That’s a crucial component of leadership – opening up options when choices seem binary and paths seem closed up. Leadership is in part the creativity of helping people see possibilities they have not had in view.

When I focus on changing me – always a new possibility – the problem we are facing together has this strange tendency to recede – all by itself! – and to be put into clearer, more manageable perspective.

The Secret Weapon For Your Career…And Your Team

June 6, 2016


Great leadership is not rooted in fixing your weaknesses. Goodness knows we all have enough of those. But greatness doesn’t come through addressing them.

Any competent golf professional will help his student build upon his strengths rather than try to fix his weaknesses. A student who is 5’5″ and 120 lbs. is not likely to crush the ball 300 yards off the tee! She is more likely to be adept at the short game, with touch around the green and on the putting surface. The pro will start there with his student.

An introvert is not likely to be a smooth pitchman. But he may well have a unique ability to read body language and unspoken cues.

Go with what you have. If you are logical and given to process, major in that. If you love people and love motivating others, make this your focus. Know yourself.

Our colleagues Ken Tucker, Shane Roberson, and Todd Hahn make a case for this in their book Your Intentional Difference: One Word Changes Everything, which you can find here.

Here is their basic premise:

Eighty-five percent of what we do, select others can be trained and developed to do.

Ten percent of what we do , select others can be trained and developed to do.

But there is a unique five percent that you and only you can do the way you do it. This  is your uniqueness, lived large.

You were made different to make a difference and this difference is an expression of your Intentional Difference, your 5%!

It is vital that you know your strengths, whether or not you use the Intentional Difference process as described in the book. You will want to know who you are, what you are made to do and then organize your life around these endeavors.

If you lead a team, you have the great opportunity to help your team members identify, flourish in, and leverage their strengths as well.

Knowing and living into your Intentional Difference is a secret weapon for your career and for your team’s success. It’s a vital ingredient in your Secret Sauce.