If you’re anything like me, you see conflict and run the other way! But good leadership is about learning to handle conflict confidently. At the end of the day if we’re going to move the ball forward – within business, relationships, or ourselves – we have to learn how to have hard conversations.
I tapped Jenn Whitmer to help us do so. This keynote speaker and Enneagram coach is an expert at handling conflict. She broke down her methods of leaning into leadership and asnwered the question we’re all asking, ‘How do I handle conflict at work?’
Jenn started by breaking down what the Enneagram is. She explained the personality framework helps us understand why we think, feel, and act the way we do.
“Unlike more notable personality frameworks, like Myers-Briggs or DISC, the Enneagram is not an assessment. It uncovers the why behind our deep motivations and actions, not just the what and how. When we learn this, all kinds of things begin to make sense.”
This knowledge is key in the workplace because we can have a better understanding of how we approach tasks, leadership, and people, and how they receive us.
“We often forget others see the world differently. No one way is wrong or right because there are benefits and predictable pitfalls for each type. But the nine Enneagram personality types explain how people take information in and choose to act on it. When you notice your whys in the typing process, you can use that knowledge in other areas of your life.”
One of Jenn’s favorite variations of the Enneagram framework is the RHETI Test. Try it today and share your results with us!
I was curious to know how to handle the situation if we follow the steps but still see the train going off the tracks. Jenn says, “label the awkward”.
“There is no shame in saying, ‘This isn’t productive. I think we need to take a break’.
This acts as a firewall and a reset for the conversation. But, the secret sauce to time outs is having a time to come back in. Set an alarm or put the date and time on your calendar otherwise it becomes awkward again.”
With coworkers say, “I feel like we’re not communicating clearly, do you feel like you’re understanding me?” Remember your goal is creating a solution not just having things go your way.
When managing up say, “I think I’m not understanding what you’re asking of me” or” I can’t give what you’re asking of me, can I think about this and come back to you?” Most employers will respond well because you own the problem and offer a solution. When you set boundaries you get your agency back and most people respond well.
As an expert who works with many leaders I wanted Jenn’s advice on what mistakes to avoid.
She shared these tips…
Overall, being a good manager means caring for people well.
03:56 What Is The Enneagram & Why Is It Helpful
15:00 Defining The Range Of Conflict
19:53 Getting Curious Vs Getting Defensive
25:23 Handling Conflict At Work
31:00 Make Your Thinking Visible
33:10 Early & Often Feedback
37:37 Speed Round Questions
Jenn’s Enneagram resource for the CWK community
Jenn’s How to Have Hard Conversations Course
The Enneagram institute- RHETI Test
People to follow:
1.) You should check out this episode How To Navigate Conflict At Work With Liane Davey.
2.) Sign up for notes at copymyhomework.com for a full list of resources, links and recommendations listed on today’s episode.
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Want To Learn 1 on 1 with Me?: I’m passionate about making YOU stand out at work. After a 45 minute training, Avery (aka my newest shining star) implemented my tactics and got a new job making $60k MORE than the last. Want some of that secret sauce for yourself? Check out more here.
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