Monica Wofford, CSP, teaches leaders to understand and improve their own leadership in using practice, skills, and desire as their three areas of focus.

“Well, isn’t SHE special” might not be the way to approach a female colleague in a conflict.

Surely you remember the “Church Lady” of Saturday Night Live fame, yes? If not, here’s a quick video to remind you Church Chat. Mind you, this is a PG-13 segment, however, the key here is her favorite line “Isn’t that Speeeeeecial” and we’ve even modified it to “Isn’t SHE special” as one of our readers asked a question this week: How do I manage conflict between my all female team at work? Perhaps uttering “Isn’t she special” or doing one’s “Superior Dance” is NOT the best way, but it does set the stage for a little giggle before we jump into this delicate topic.  😀 (though as a side note, the fact that Church Lady is wearing purple and Willie Nelson gives her a red hat in this segment, does make me wonder if we haven’t just watched the very first Red Hat Society Inductee!)

Conflict among any team member can be a challenge and there are gender stereotypes that abound when the question is specific to female team members. Women do communicate differently than men in many ways, yes, but conflict originates in a lack of understanding and a lack of desire to truly understand or seek to be understood, not in the gender differences. In any team, the following elements may help in avoiding conflict:

Build Significant Rapport Before You Approach Delicate Topics

Bert Decker is the author of several tools and books on the subject of building rapport and communication. One of his theories is how we break through the “first brain” to establish a better connection with the recipient of our message. with greater rapport, comes greater understanding, more frequent forgiveness, and less likelihood that we will take something said out of context. Build rapport first and then seek to be understood or maybe seek to understand them first instead. 😀

Seek to understand the needs of fellow team mates

Do you know what they need or what they are looking to learn? Do you know the desired outcome of the conversation or are you winging it? Finding out more about your needs and there’s prior to beginning a strong dialogue may help both parties stay focused on each other’s needs.

Consider Speaking in a Language They Understand

As we talk about in courses that utilize the CORE® Profile and in coaching sessions that also use this tool, most of us have a preference for communication. That preference is related to one’s personality and thankfully, we are all different. Therefore, when you communicate, you’re using the preference that works best for you; the language you understand; but it may not be what the other person understands. Learn more about your preference (this tool might help: CORE™ MAP and about those you work with, in order to avoid rampant conflict and stop taking things personally.

We look forward to hearing more questions and always feel free to share your thoughts and insights. Together, what we think, see, say, believe, and how we behave is contagious and dealing with conflict among team members can be one contagious challenge you want to work on resolving in a hurry. What else would you do in this situation?

Stay Contagious,


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