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Conflict Preparedness: Critical Qualities of a Good Leader

Updated: Mar 6

Skills + Support = Empowered Leadership

A sign that says a message of support

You're leading an innovative and public-serving project, and a disagreement between two key team members threatens to derail the whole thing. Does this make you want to run and hide, or do you feel equipped to navigate the situation productively?

Conflict is inevitable AND natural, especially for leaders in non-profit and government agencies who are coordinating across teams to best serve the public good. But what separates a leader who gets swept away by the tide of conflict from one who uses it as an opportunity for growth?

Skills and support.

"But we don't have conflict!" Chances are, wherever there are two or more people, there is potential for conflict. In fact, anyone who has been stuck while making a consequential decision knows there can be conflict within one person! So, just because tempers are low on the surface, doesn't mean conflict isn't simmering beneath...

Whether it's expressed or repressed, mismanaged or ignored, conflict can lead to:

  • Wasted time and resources as you scramble to resolve the issue

  • Damaged relationships and decreased team morale

  • Impasses and missed opportunities for collaboration and innovation

But investing in conflict skills, as key qualities of a good leader, empowers you to:

  • Approach conflict calmly and objectively.

  • Facilitate productive conversations that lead to solutions.

  • Build trust and respect within your team.

  • Foster a culture of open communication where disagreements is seen as a chance to learn and grow.


Developing these Qualities of a Good Leader

Here are some key resources to gather before conflict arises:

  • Develop strong communication skills: Practice active listening, clear and assertive communication, and the ability to identify and manage emotions during difficult conversations.

  • Understand and utilize conflict resolution tools: Gain an understanding of key concepts like the five conflict-handling styles and interest-based negotiation

  • Seek out support: Explore coaching and training programs that can offer personalized guidance and support in navigating conflict situations.

Conflict preparedness isn't about avoiding conflict; it's about approaching it with competence and confidence. By investing in your skills BEFORE conflicts arise, you transform from a passive bystander to an active leader who can guide your team through even the toughest conversations.

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