Ask The Experts

Turning a foe to an ally

Question: I just started or shall I say, ‘parachuted’ into a very senior position of a subsidiary company.

What this means is, I did not have to go through the mill but just landed in this high position on top of many others. While this is a compliment that I have the trust and confidence of the management, there are a number of down sides to it.

Getting acceptance from the people is a challenge. I cannot prevent them from feeling uneasy or having their suspicions about me. Thus, I will need to give them and myself some time to get comfortable with each other.

However, my main headache now is trying to solve conflicts in this department of mine.

I am afraid that I may do the wrong thing. Should I leave this concern out for a while or jump into it?

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Answer: The first thing to accept is, conflict in the workplace is a fact of life. You are not to be blamed. Different people with different goals and needs will normally get into some conflicts, be it minor or major.

However, they still need to be solved lest they transform into a bigger and more serious issue.

While conflicts may seem to be bad as they can be damaging, there are good outcomes when they are solved early, such as increased understanding among colleagues, stronger team cohesion and improved self-knowledge, etc.

So, if you were to reframe, you will take this as a good opportunity to show your leadership abilities and qualities at a time when this is needed of you.

When settling this, keep these few pointers in mind: Show respect and courtesy to all parties concerned; set clear objectives and outcomes so that real issues can be debated without damaging working relationships; listen well to identify the core issue(s) causing this; and lastly, be open to explore options for a good solution objectively.

Powerful questions you can ask yourself:

• How can you turn this into an opportunity for you to show your good leadership?

• What will you do to come up with an amicable solution for both parties?

• What good learning can you take from here to move forward?

• How can future occurrences be avoided from your handling of this conflict?

Article by Dr Michael Heah, an ICF Master Certified Coach with


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