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Good Leaders Navigate Conflict Skillfully

When I first began coaching managers, team leads, HR professionals and C Suite professionals, my focus was completely on helping them building skills to understand and navigate conflict and improve communication when things get tough. That is still an essential part of the work I do with clients, but I’ve realized over the years that I need to call what I do leadership coaching as well.

Why? Because being able to deal effectively with conflict, your own and other people’s is an essential leadership skill.

It was my clients who taught me this connection between effective leadership and conflict transformation skills. Several years ago, I was hired to do a series of trainings about conflict management for a large non-profit. The staff and executive director received the training enthusiastically, and shortly after we finished, the director hired me to do individual executive coaching. She already had some wonderful leadership skills, but kept running into problems in situations where she didn’t know how to be assertive, or how to navigate a different way forward when confronted with impossible either/or dilemmas.

I applied everything I know about managing conflict to her difficulties with her team, her direct reports, and her board. Over the course of a year, this work transformed her leadership style and she was so grateful.

Here are some of the conflict related leadership skills we worked on:

  1. Acknowledging everything she was doing right and including it all in her reports.
  2. Reframing perspectives on problems and expanding possible solutions with her Board of Directors.
  3. Deeply listening to input from department chairs and others and making changes to support them where appropriate.
  4. Clarifying her expectations of her staff and the consequences if team members didn’t do aspects of their jobs.
  5. Being transparent about her decision-making process with the board, her managers, and the front line workers.

Her skills expanded and my sense of how I can be helpful did too! I love helping leaders especially, because the impact and positive changes ripple out to everyone around them. Good conflict navigators are better leaders.

Lorraine Segal has helped over 2000 leaders and others in organizations and corporations communicate more clearly, transform conflicts, and let go of resentments. The goal: to create a more harmonious and productive workplace.  Through her business, Conflict Remedy, Lorraine creates customized training and coaching programs for non-profit organizations, corporations, and government agencies and Sonoma State University. She was recently named one of the top 15 coaches in Santa Rosa by Influence Digest. She is a contributing author to the book, Stand Up, Speak Out Against Workplace Bullying. Her latest project, a memoir called: Angels and Earthwormsan unexpected journey to love, joy, and miracles, is about her transformation from miserable self-doubt to self-acceptance, true love, spiritual awareness, and right livelihood. Find out more about the memoirhere.Contact Lorraine through ConflictRemedy to request a free consultation for you and your organization or to sign up for her conflict remedy newsletter and blog.


Lorraine Segal

After surviving the 50's and 60's, as well as twenty years in toxic academia as a tenured professor, Lorraine Segal was inspired to started her own business, Conflict Remedy (, happily teaching, coaching, blogging and consulting around workplace conflict transformation. She is addicted to reading novels and enjoys walking and… MORE >

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