4. Harmony (Relationship Building)
You look for consensus. You don’t enjoy conflict; rather, you seek areas of agreement.my personal CliftonStrengths report
This is not the same as placating with empty promises. Instead, I try to think practically about the task at hand and look for specialists in the tops to learn what I need to move forward. This is one of the reasons I love podcasts and books by experts in their field. There is so much to glean from these that can provide a depth of knowledge I would not be able to reach simply through my own experience.
By looking for ways others have been successful, whether in planning, productivity, or customer success, I hope to understand their insights and then metabolize those into practical solutions to avoid conflict scenarios. I even do this in my personal life. For example, reading The Gift of Failure with my son and husband to help us all get on the same page based in terms of a plan to support my son’s rise to 9th grade without snowplowing our way through the year.
One of the practical applications of this has been in handing new customer on-boarding. There are times during this process when a stakeholder may become frustrated or angry due to some mid-understanding along the way. I have a client right now that is really struggling. Honestly, they didn’t even want to move from their current platform but that wasn’t an option for them so they came into the implementation with a chip on their shoulder anyway. My approach to working with them has been to work to resolve any conflicts that arise without adding additional stress into the situation. I let them know that I understand their frustration, re-inforce that I’m here to help them, and then use practical suggestions to allow them to keep moving forward in a positive way. This has really helped to change the direction of the team and get them on solid footing. By avoiding being confrontational, they didn’t need to get defensive and dig in their heels. And I’m in my happy place with our weekly implementation calls having a friendly and casual tone.
Recently a friend came to me with a challenge she was facing. She needed to respond to an email but wasn’t sure what to say without sounding confrontational. I helped her draft an email that addressed the goals of the original sender and provided some alternatives to what they were asking for to meet those goals. Their original request was not an option, but by addressing the outcome they were looking for, she was able to provide a solution without hurting their feelings or upsetting them. Now, she comes to me when she needs my “diplomacy” as she calls it to get out of sticky situations.