Millennials Need Conflict Intelligence

written by Cinnie Noble

For Millennials, authenticity is about the alignment of values between ‘who I am’ and ‘what I do.’ This includes the ability to have courageous conversations that raise difficult issues and get to the heart of the matter, including providing tough feedback. Leaders must make hard decisions. They need to balance the risks of sticking to their vision in the face of adversity, and being open to new ideas or data, even when this contradicts current beliefs. Leaders must find the courage to trust others, and have the courage to be introspective.

Millennials face all of the normal conflicts encountered at work, plus a new set of specific conflicts related to intergenerational issues. Often cited examples include: contrasting work and communication styles; different approaches to learning on the job skills and sharing information; differing attitudes about work hours and dress codes; and conflicting values regarding structure and hierarchy.

A few years ago (2013) Stanford University and The Miles Group conducted a survey – of 200 CEOs, board directors and other senior executives – in which they asked a range of questions regarding leadership skills. In a specific summary of the findings, as they apply to coaching, it was evident that the area in which CEOs want to develop most is conflict resolution.Conflict is an inevitable and normal part of workaday lives and there is no research, to date, that millennial leaders are more competent than the generations before them in this regard. And the importance of engaging in and managing conflict competently, confidently and courageously cannot be overstated.

Conflict Intelligence

Conflict Intelligence refers to having the self-awareness, knowledge, and skills to be attuned to ourselves and those with whom we are in conflict. It is about having and showing the ability to manage and engage in conflict proactively and with humility, objectivity, and empathy. It is about not judging and making assumptions. It is about regulating our emotions. It is about treating others with respect, even when tension upsets the status quo.

Conflict Intelligence Self-Assessment

The following assessment (developed by the author) is about how you rate your current level of conflict intelligence, by considering variables that reflect its many aspects.







Click here for the full Conflict Intelligence Self-Assessment


image00Cinnie Noble, C.M., LL.B., LL.M.(ADR), is a conflict management specialist and member of NextGenLeaders®. She is a former lawyer and currently works as a workplace mediator and conflict management coach. Cinnie is the author of “Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model” and “Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You”.

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