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Leaders: Start Building Conflict Capacity

It's a skill often overlooked

No matter the technical or academic skills a leader possesses, there is an often-overlooked skill that's essential: Conflict capacity.

Conflict capacity is the ability to tolerate conflict without getting triggered into unconscious reactions. A leader with low conflict capacity lacks the self-awareness to know when they have hit their emotional and mental limits; as a result, this person mismanages conflict and makes poor decisions. Many leaders I’ve worked with didn’t recognize the first signs of conflict and didn’t know when they were in too deep. As a result, they made significant mistakes that, while unintentional, caused a lot of lost time, lost productivity and legal expenses for the organization. 

Just like expanding your physical health through aerobic capacity, strength or stamina, building conflict capacity requires conditioning, discipline and deliberate practice. You need to be able to withstand the storm instead of resorting to the coping mechanisms of avoiding, appeasing or aggression.

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