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    4 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Conquer Conflict Fears

    I have always found giving negative feedback to be a difficult process. It’s tricky to balance being frank and direct without seeming insensitive. But, as a woman business leader, you sometimes have to forgo your feminine empathy when giving negative feedback and take on the role of a strong leader.  I found Mike Figliuolo’s approach at little brash but certainly direct in dealing with potential conflicts.

    If you’d like, read the entire article: “4 Ways Leaders can Overcome the Fear of Conflict.” I’ve added my own take on his ideas below:

    1. Take but(t) sandwiches off of the menu
      Yes, Mike really says this in his article, but he was trying to get his point across. According to Mike, many leaders think the practice of surrounding negative feedback in between compliments is an effective method of dealing with an unpleasant or uncomfortable feedback session. If you make a habit of this, however, your team will expect to get bashed after every positive comment and that’s not effective leadership.
    2. Everyone grow up
      Mike admits that he has screwed up, taken his lumps, and moved on from there even though it was not pleasant. But his philosophy here is that we all need to get over it, admit our mistakes, and act like adults instead of whining and sulking to coworkers.
    3. Take off the soft shoes and put on the boots
      What I got out of this bullet point was that it’s far better to be direct, offer the criticism, and get it over with. Most likely the recipient of the critique will be aware it’s coming and like taking off a bandage, it can be less painful to rip it off than to linger and pick away at it. I agree that you sometimes need to put on the “big girl pants.”
    4. Lead
      Leadership, according to Mike, takes guts. If you can’t take the heat, you might want to rethink your aspirations. Leading can be great and rewarding, but the downside is you must be willing to take a stand, be direct and follow through. Mike says he is a better leader because of bosses who treated him with respect, but who were direct and swift with the feedback.

    Mike says in his final paragraph, “being ‘nice’ for the sake of avoiding conflict is dysfunctional.” And I have to agree. His directness and candor are refreshing, and he challenges all leaders to do the same. Let me know how you have benefited from a leader’s directness in dealing with conflict in the comments below.



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