Episode 22 – Healthy Conflict

Your Sports Resource

Embrace ‘Healthy Conflict’ as we delve into managing disagreements, and differences of opinion in today’s episode, and I really want to come at this from the perspective of working through an issue or a problem at work and how to solve it.

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00:00:00 Introduction

This is the Your Sports Resource Podcast, where each week you’ll learn actionable strategies that you can implement so the operations of your club support your coaching staff and the direction of your organization. We are committed to excellence in youth sports leadership. Let’s get started.


Hello and welcome to the Your Sports Resource Podcast. My name is Renata and if you’ve been following this podcast, you know that I’ve been gone quite a while.


I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been working with some great new clients, but I’ve been a bit remiss in getting ahead of my recordings but I’m happy to be back here and starting back up today.


Hey, can I ask if you have a suggestion for a podcast topic? Please let me know. I want to make sure I’m serving the listener so write to me at info@yoursportsresource.com and let me know.


OK, so today we are going to talk about How to Manage conflict disagreements, Differences of opinions, and I really want to come at this from the perspective of working through an issue or a problem at work and how to solve it.


I don’t want to get into like office politics or like upheaval because somebody just not behaving. I’m talking about as a team really solving a problem.


And often when we get in that scenario, we you know there’s a bit of conflict that’s created in that I have to be right, and nobody else can add to this conversation, so that’s kind of what I want to talk about.


Now I don’t know what you think, but I find that when you have opposing views for a solution, the outcome falls really into two distinct buckets, right?


Either avoidance of conflict, so I won’t say anything, or nobody says anything cause there’s always that one person who’s talking or an all or nothing approach that person who’s talking or the manager or whoever, It’s like no. It has to be my way and I can’t listen to anybody else which also ends up you know fueling the avoidance of conflict situations, so neither of which of these are healthy and they typically reap very little reward, right?


I get it. People are either quick to personalize and get angry over everything or they’re just so tired and they become apathetic.


You know, it’s it. They feel like it’s a waste of time to offer their opinions and their thoughts. I do get it. I don’t like it, but I. Get it.


So, I saw this little cartoon on LinkedIn, and it really explains the Unhealthy versus Healthy Conflict picture, right? So, if you can picture it in your mind,


The first visual is of two people facing each other and underneath that it says you versus me and the image shows 2 angry people like scales on their face, arms folded right and there’s a big scribble in the comment box between them which is supposed to represent. I guess the conflict or the problem, right?


Now the second visual is of them standing side by side, bodies and faces relax them having a conversation and then next to it, it has that little bubble with the scribble of the problem.


OK, so it represents you and me versus the problem. Instead of you versus me?


I mean it’s really simple, but we often don’t behave in a US versus the problem kind of way. Why do we personalize our approach to a solution?


Again, now I’m just talking about solving things for your organization. No office politics or someone who is really screwed up.


OK, but why do we hold on to the belief that our ideas have to be the be all or end all that our thoughts are right, and that if someone disagrees that means they disagree with us as a person, just not approach to solving the problem.


Now you may have heard me say this before but when I was leading departments or I guess more specifically major projects, I would tell people to speak up if they had a different opinion and that usually really note lead nowhere because of previous bosses. There’s not a lot of trust there, right?


So, I learned to say the same thing in a different way and I would say something like listen two ideas are even if they’re opposing can create a situation where we can all come to an even better solution.


So, speak up because I want the best outcome for us and the customer. I don’t care whose idea it is. We all win as a team, but quite honestly for me, I love watching the collaboration unfold and watching people go. Oh oh, what if we did this or tried this? Does that mean that this would work or not work?


You know, I love watching that in a team, so I fully buy into the fact that even if you have two ideas, whether they are pose or not, they can come together in an amazing solution and that’s really why where I want to try to get people to.


And pragmatically, I also just don’t want to waste time and money on something that we could have front ended and resolved instead of dealing in this little political conflict instead of getting to the solution. It’s just logical to.


However, I get that sometimes we feel we are in competition, or we work with people who make it a competition, or we have managers that make it a competition.


I really don’t get me started on that kind of mess, but there’s even people who are just anxious about adding their thoughts too, right? There’s that scenario as well so.


I think I want to walk through how to navigate the competitive environment and then how you can create a space where you can feel safe enough to speak up. If you are one of those people who you know, like kind of sit back and question your every thought you have a great idea but you’re like how am I going to be received.


OK, so let’s walk through these two scenarios.


So, the first one I want to talk about is how to navigate that competitive environment, or one where some people are heard, and others aren’t.


So, if you have a site manager that allows and even instigates really this type of environment, well, my thought to you is that you have to be the leader in this situation.


We call that situational leadership. OK, if someone needs to take the reins, even if you know briefly to get things moving in the right direction then if you have the strength, I would recommend that you do it, but your approach needs to be, you know, fought through OK. It can’t be about you and has to be about solving a problem.


Right, so you have to know your audience, but if it were me, I would approach it similar to this. OK, I would say something like. I know we all want the best outcome.


I’d love to be able to add input and I think it would be good for others to speak as well, OK? You know something like after all, we all want something to contribute that will create a better solution.


Now, I mean those are kind of my words, you were them to make them comfortable for you, but what you’re doing is disarming the scenario because first you are saying we the collective want a great outcome and hey, we the collective would love to participate in creating a solution.


You aren’t saying, hey, listen to me. I’ve got a better idea. That guy is always speaking up and running over everybody never let’s anybody say a word, right?


You’re not saying that because that’s, that’s saying, oh, poor, pitiful me and attacking another individual if you come at it from the perspective of I think it would be great to allow others to add to the solution, then I think you’ll get.


Somewhere now sometimes that might be easier said than done, but what is it really going to hurt for you to interject, right? And again, there’s ways to interject so you don’t come across as you know, really weak and submissive or bossy and making it personal.


And what you’re trying to convey, if you can keep this front of mine, is that there may be a better outcome to the solution.


If we all collaborate and work together now, let’s say you get shut down by your manager, then maybe it’s time to take that conversation and offline. So that means outside of the meeting, one-on-one, OK?


And I would state basically what you were going to say before you were shut down or repeat what you said. You know before you got shut down.


Right and then I would just follow it up with a statement that it’s like you know, how does it hurt us as a team or the solution or our customer or athletes or whatever it is?


If we all offer our thoughts on a solution like how is that going to hurt anything you got to come from the perspective of getting them to recognize that you know, the collective sometimes is better.


Sometimes if you let the collective constantly weigh in and everybody has differing opinions and nobody can make a decision, that’s not really what I’m talking about, right?


I’m talking about people. A group of people that are really smart who want to be involved in ensuring that the actions that your group is taking is in the best interest of your membership of your athletes.


Are you bored of the community? Whatever that decision is that you’re facing OK. And again, if you’re trying to, I guess I just want to reiterate that if you’re trying to mirror that picture, that I painted at the beginning, it’s really about US against the problem, not you versus me, right?


What I really didn’t consider is what if you are the one shutting others down? So, if that’s you, I guess I would ask what is wrong with feedback and collaboration.


Just because you have the position of being the leader, I’m going to assume it’s the leader that’s shutting people down and not just someone else in the meeting.


But if you’re in the position of being the leader, it doesn’t mean you have to have all the ideas and know all the solutions all the time.


As a matter of fact, a true and strong leader acknowledges that he or she will be more successful if they let their team shine OK, it doesn’t matter.


If it’s a small discussion about practices or a large discussion regarding $1,000,000, you know project that you’re, you know, you’re built in a poll or track. It doesn’t matter.


OK, your team and my team, I mean your staff is watching how you operate. And a closed manager is not a leader, it’s just someone who has the position of authority.


So, if you want to be a leader then you utilize your team.


If you get too much feedback and there’s opposing views, listen.


The decision still sits with you on the direction, but heck, what is it going to hurt by collecting information and potentially? Having an amazing outcome because you listen to others.


OK, you avoid problems mistakes because you didn’t you know, fully functionally think everything through all right?


So, let’s move on.


So, what if you’re the person who really is sitting in these meetings and has a great idea but you’re I was going to say intimidated, but I don’t know that intimidate it is the right word.


Let’s just say you’re nervous about speaking up and worried that others will be defensive, or maybe you’re worried that they’ll think your thoughts are silly or whatever, whatever it may be, OK?


If it’s because others are defensive, well, that’s easy. Go back to my words earlier, right?


What’s wrong with us being on the same side working towards a solution, right? Who cares who came up with it, right? That kind of thing.


Chances are when you engage in that kind of conversation, others will be right behind you because they also want to speak you. They also had thoughts. They may have the same thoughts you have right?


But more chances than not, if you don’t speak up it’s because you are really probably second guessing yourself.


For whatever reason, and that’s a bit different, but my response to you is still geared towards the collective.


You do your fellow coaches and or your volunteers, and potentially your athletes a disservice by not speaking up and I just want you to reframe that in your mind.


If you truly have a thought that could create a positive outcome, then you owe it to your team, the staff, or whoever you’re working with. To speak up who knows, your idea could be combined with another one and get to a great outcome.


You could say, think of something that you know cut off a potential risk right at the beginning because everybody, (yeah yeah yeah yeah) but they haven’t thought about the risks right.


So, my thought for you is to try to think about the end result, not what someone is going to say by your speaking up.


I can’t guarantee it’s going to be received, but that’s really not the point, Is it?


The point is really for you to find your voice and to understand and really internalize the fact that get over the fact. If you think people are judging you, screw them OK.


You owe it to your staffing your membership to speak up alright, I believe really we each personally need to do our part to ensure that we are working with a group of people, whether it’s coaches or a giant customer service pod. Really, you know that our focus is on the end result.


Our focus should be about the outcome and the collective outcome.


It’s not you versus me, it’s about US versus the problem. It’s US that creates the solution.


All right, well, thank you for listening today and please subscribe, rate and review this podcast so more can hear about how they can improve the leadership of their Sports Club.


Also, you can always find more information on www.yoursportsresource.com and make sure you check out our Virtual Services.


That’s really ramping up. We’re starting to collect quite a few clubs who are engaging in our Virtual Services. They’re, they’re robust and they’re affordable, so take a look at those.


All right, thank you for spending time with me today.