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Your Daily Dose of Dave – April 18, 2011

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Combat Unresolved Conflict

Good leaders step up to “pull out the splinter.”

Dave recommends that leaders encourage the kind of communication that will let them know when unresolved disagreements exist. That’s because unresolved disagreements are most destructive when the leader doesn’t know they are there or when the leader simply avoids confrontation.

How Dave Combats It

In Dave’s company, this communication is accomplished by weekly reports. Each week every team member emails a report to his or her leader and Dave. All leaders read their team members’ weekly reports and pass along any issues or concerns to Dave. That way, leadership from all levels is involved with the day-to-day activities of the company. Team members report their progress on their assigned tasks and relate their high and low points of the week. This is where dissatisfaction and disagreements tend to be revealed, directly or indirectly. When a leader believes that one team member may be upset with another at work or has a problem with an assignment or a process, the leader gets the involved parties together and straightens things out. Most team members are adults who can deal with things and move on. Yet, that doesn’t always work. Sometimes people really lock horns and butt heads. With hundreds of people working together, there will inevitably be serious conflicts. However, team members must respect each others integrity and intent. They must agree on the company’s goals and must work together to reach them. If they cant do that, changes may be necessary.

Good Leaders Pull Out the Splinter

Dave compares the process of resolving disagreement to pulling out a splinter. Pull it out right away, even if it hurts. Don’t leave it until its infected, causing even greater pain. A little confrontation can wash out the wound and allow the parties to go forward in a spirit of unity. Leaders lead best when they pull out that splinter. Sometimes its messy. Sometimes it doesn’t work perfectly. But the alternative is to walk around and act like nothing is happening and wonder why there’s no unity. Good leaders confront and resolve disagreements as quickly as possible. They sit down with the involved team members, open the book, and play the cards face up. Its extremely healthy when its done with dignity and respect. Avoiding conflict is what normal companies do. Dave suggests you be weird. Normal companies have employees. Dave never wanted that. He wanted—and has always had—talented team members focused on the same goal, rather than ordinary employees who are burdened with unresolved conflict. Leaders at any company can achieve that same lofty goal by acting quickly, decisively and directly when they are aware of hurt feelings or disagreements. The issues simply need to be resolved to do what has to be done to defeat this enemy of unity and the other enemies as well. Learn more at EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey’s ultimate business conference.]]]]> ]]>

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