This video and blog post is the tenth in a series of fifteen about the roles Wise Leaders play.
There will always be conflict, difficulty and disagreement, such is human nature. They don't need to be the norm however.
Perhaps the most famous insight into peace was my made by A.J. Muste (1895 - 1967) a Dutch-born American clergyman and political activist. He said “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.”
This wonderful insight seems to be lost on most politicians today who talk about war as if it's inevitable. Surely we're better than this.
For me deciding peace is the way and living accordingly is what wise leaders do.
When there is conflict, difficulty or disagreement wise leaders do as follows:
My client, whom we will call Mark, and one of his most relied on employees, whom we will call Stephanie, are barely speaking to one another.
This is a sad scenario I see often, one where initial conflict, difficulty or disagreement was small and yet because it wasn't addressed it has now grown into a major barrier to high performance. Of course there's a domino affect too, other people are now involved and are unhappy too!
Ideally catch conflict before it negates your value, values, and feeling valued, and, if left unaddressed, your relationship.
Step one is to see conflict, or difficultly, or disagreement as a positive sign everything in a relationship is not as it can be. Addressing friction is a grand opportunity to reestablish shared-view or common-ground.
Mark and Stephanie had both lost sight of ours and were trapped in yours and mine.
Step two in addressing conflict, difficulty, or disagreement is to use feeling language.
"I feel Stephanie's work is a great gift and so do you." I said looking Mark straight in the eye.
He nodded sheepishly.
"I feel we should explore how your work is being delivered Stephanie." I said looking her straight in the eye.
She nodded sheepishly.
As an outsider not emotionally involved, yet aware enough to pinpoint the actual problem, I was able to facilitate a candid, convivial, compassionate, conscious and compelling conversation between Mark and Stephanie that led to restoration of shared-view and their relationship.
It turned out that Mark and Stephanie had agreements on their goals of working together yet not on the details of how these goals were going to be achieved.
In all your relationships ensure there is a shared-view on what you what to achieve and the detail on how this will be accomplished and you will avoid most issues.
Service to self or service to others?
When you are genuinely serving others peace is likely. When you are acting in service to yourself peace is difficult.
Shared-view is honouring the world in here (my view), and the world out there (other people's views), and seeking and sustaining the world we share (ours).
People are never the problem. Problems are mostly about processes
When things are not going according to plan review the processes. Remember processes include policies, procedures, practices, principles, philosophies, systems, structures, and assumptions.
Peace is the way and ensuring our processes mean it's simple for people to bring their essence (unique personal wisdom) to everything they do, we can sustain peace and harmony.
Become the wise leader you want to be.