How to Handle Work Conflict Without Damaging Work Relationships

In one of my most recent collaborations, I worked with an investor on a super-exciting project: We teamed up with local entrepreneurs who were in desperate need of more sustainable models for their work. These were brilliant, hardworking, committed people who normally would not be able to afford our services.

The project launched and things got off to a really good start, but as we got closer to the main event, we each got very busy with our own respective preparations. Honestly, the communication was not as strong as it could have been and probably needed to be.

When we arrived for the final preparation, we realized there were a number of decisions we had not finalized, which created problems we didn’t have time to address. We did some major juggling on both sides, and we had a few really uncomfortable moments.

I struggled a bit with how forthright I should be with the investor. Realtalk: We’ve all been conditioned to work with investors in a particular way. The big unspoken rule is we pay a certain deference to the people with the money.

But instead of going with the status quo, I treated our disagreement as an opportunity to create a new dynamic. I chose to stand up in a way that made room for more authentic communication — and opened the door for constructive criticism on both sides.

Standing up can be challenging, particularly when there are others involved. But it’s necessary for the health of all relationships. How do we become skillful at doing it?

Here’s my six-step process for standing up in a way that strengthens your clarity, inspires your creativity, and ignites greater possibilities for growth and success in your business.

Step 1: What am I committed to? This answer provides context for standing up. You must ask yourself this question on a regular basis, because it is the difference between living with intention versus living in reaction.

Step 2: Get clear about where you have been lacking. This is another way of asking yourself where you may not be standing up in your full power. A loss in power means not having your full voice, not being truthful with yourself or someone else, not being transparent where transparency is needed, not showing up with your full talent and skills, and not owning your own vision, desires, or expectations. Pay attention to how that loss of power is manifesting itself.

Step 3: What is the primary limiting belief keeping you in fear? For many of us, we have a set of core limiting beliefs that play on loops of inner dialogue in our heads. I affectionately call these our “greatest hits.” These beliefs are simply decisions we’ve made about ourselves, other people, or the world, and they occur to us as if they are hard facts instead of conditioned fiction. Any belief that puts you in a state of fear is worth examining. The ability to see your limiting beliefs and their source is a skill, and it is something you must learn to cultivate if you want to be a conscious creator of your own destiny.

Step 4: Am I willing to actively transform this belief? This is the next level of truth-telling. Sometimes when I am triggered, I have to sit with the conversation and really understand its origin before I can even get clear about how to transform that belief.

For me, recognizing the source of my limiting belief often gives me immediate access to changing it. I envision myself actually giving conversations back to people, or to industries, or to the media. I also have another technique I call “taking the hook out of my mouth.” This image for me is so visceral, and it says I am no longer willing to be pulled or manipulated by this conversation.

Step 5: What is my new belief? Beliefs are sources of power. Creating a new belief is what gives you a new place to stand. When I reach for a new belief, I am looking for one that is in alignment with my commitment.

If my old belief is, “Rich people are better than me,” or, “If you rock the boat, they’ll pull the funding,” then I don’t really have a leg to stand on, do I?

But if I ask myself, “What am I committed to?” Or, “What do I want to create?” then I am looking for a belief to support that. My new belief has got to empower me, so it might be: “People are people,” or “I trust the goodness of this person,” or “I believe that honest feedback given in the right context is helpful.” Find a belief that is consistent with your commitment and will get you on the court in an authentic, empowered way.

Step 6: Now that I see my new belief, what is there to say or do? What vital actions are necessary for me to reclaim my power? How do I do it in a way that honors my commitment?  How do I create room for feedback that I may need to receive? Remember: Standing up can be a two-way street.

The goal is to always stand up in a way that attracts the right people to you and invites the kind of collaboration and contribution that will have you truly succeed in your life and business. Sometimes in standing we have to be hard-core, because it is what the situation calls for, but even in being strong and firm you can do so from a place of love. It takes skill and real intention to stay in spirit and not drop into ego. Ultimately, when we stand up, it’s less about being right and more about being in alignment and honoring your truth.

Rha Goddess is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.

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