“A great leader doesn’t avoid conflict and a great leader doesn’t doesn’t leave a body of emotionally destroyed people behind. A great leader solves problems.”
The great leaders I have worked with always made it about the problem to be solved, not the person. They are exceptional at addressing both poor results and poor behaviors swiftly and directly. They didn’t leave a wake of destruction in their path because they didn’t make it personal. They focused on the desired outcome and addressing whatever is that happens to be taking a person off course.
Does it take courage to do this? Yes, of course it does. Not many people thrive on and enjoy high conflict situations. It takes an ability to keep the focus on the business at hand and not let the fear of conflict dissuade you from having the direct conversations that are needed.
I’ve work with leaders who were anything but exceptional at this as well. They either would ignore the situation entirely, talk about it behind another persons back and undermine their credibility, or they would be like a volcano and erupt. All of these behaviors (and many more) are the types of things that emotionally destroy people and undermine the influence of leadership.
The key for success here is to ensure that when dealing with situations where conflict is needed be swift, seek to understand, and live by the principle ‘It’s not personal!’