The ONE thing you need to do in 2017 if you're a leader

Time flies.

Can you believe that it is already March, that tricky time of the year?

It’s that time when New Year’s resolutions made enjoying a glass of wine under a sparkly sky seem like a distant memory.

The time where the busyness of life takes over and lack of time and energy provides a good reason (or excuse) to abandon those resolutions.

I’ll admit, I personally haven’t visited the gym as many times as I had planned. Ah let’s be honest (I preach transparency so should practise it): I only went to the gym three times in 6 weeks! Nobody is perfect ☺.

However, I am just after telling myself that there’s still more than 10 months left to get back in the driver seat.

So what’s important for you this year? What’s your vision? Where do you want to be in December 2017?

I may have been slack with the gym but I am still working hard on implementing the other goals besides the gym that I have set myself. Are you?

In case you didn’t have the time or energy to set any goal, I’ll give you some of my thoughts of what’s important in your work as a leader.

If you are a leader, with a title or without a title, the one thing that is vital to succeed  is that you address conflict in your team when it arises.

A- put-your-head-in-the-sand-ostrich attitude towards (potential) conflict won’t get you far.

Make sure that you deal with conflict in your team, even if it is only latent.


Conflict never magically disappears and to pretend that it doesn’t exist, it will cost you dearly.

The number 1 mistake I see leaders make is ignoring conflict, for a whole array of reasons.

I don’t have to tell you that high conflict in teams is nerve wrecking, stressful and soul destroying. It causes suffering for all staff and undermines your authority as a leader.

It leads to sleepless nights, increased sick leave, workcover claims, low morale and raises the potential for nasty and draining complaints.

So what to do if you there’s conflict in your team?

Here’s a few action steps you can take:

  • Recognise high conflict and call it what it is
  • Realize that most staff members don’t know how to deal with conflict
  • Sit parties down separately and help them entangle the conflict
  • Coach them through the drama: why are they so upset, what is it that they need; how can they build bridges and collaborate?
  • Facilitate a joint meeting to help parties open and honestly talk about their issues and identify ways and strategies to move forward

These steps are often enough to help parties on their way in solving the problem.

I can hear you think: ’that’s easier said than done...’

Honestly, taking time to listen and help people in conflict is often all that is needed.

Unless the conflict has lingered on for a long time and has become entrenched.

The second biggest mistake I see leaders make is that they get lost in the conflict resolution process.

They become emotionally hijacked by the parties involved and become somehow part of the conflict.

Yes, spend some quality time with your staff in conflict but don’t overdo it. A few hours is great, however if the conflict is taking too much of your time with no solution in sight, you need to draw a line.

As a leader you have plenty of other, probably more important work that needs your attention.

So if your efforts don’t bring the desired result, acknowledge that.

Know your area of expertise.

Most leaders are no conflict experts.

Besides, even if you think you are, leaders are often not seen as impartial by parties in conflict, and that fact can and may be used against you when the conflict increases.

If this is the case, calling in the expertise of an accredited mediator (yes, I happen to be one), who is an independent person will help to stop the conflict from spreading like a wildfire.

It’s the best investment you can make for yourself, your staff and your clients.

Don’t allow conflict to take over your organisation. Deal with it before it deals with you.

Good luck!

Questions or comment? Just hit reply, email me at or go to my website

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