Our natural, human reaction to conflict was drolly expressed by an anonymous poet:
In matters controversial
my perception’s rather fine
I always see both points of view:
the one that’s wrong and mine.
“You think I’m wrong?” our ego fumes. “You find me irritating?! I’ll make sure you know how foolish and disgusting you are!” That’s our Kryptonite; that is the reasoning of a child. An emotionally mature person recognizes this tendency and firmly rejects it. Emotional maturity is best characterized by a person taking the initiative to show others that they want to increase likability and trust through an intentional display of complete transparency, vulnerability, and disclosure.
Being completely open and transparent is the best way to keep your Purpose Partners on the same level. Sending mixed, ambiguous signals only causes more confusion in the workplace. Emotional maturity, like I have mentioned in previous posts, is the key to sending the right signals to every person that holds a stake in your company. Anything less than maturity will be perceived as unprofessional and incompetent to all parties, not just your Purpose Partners. Your team relies on you to set the example and the bar for humility and maturity.
“OK,” you may be wondering, “but what if it isn’t my fault? What if I am being mature and the person I’m dealing with is behaving like a child—attacking and blaming?” That’s an excellent question, because we do find ourselves trying to resolve conflict with people who are not displaying any emotional maturity. Let’s say you’re in a tense situation and you perceive that even though you’re trying to work toward a solution, the other person seems determined that there is going to be a problem—and the problem is your fault! Is this the time to “stand tall” and put the other party in their place? No! You lead. You lead by being the bigger person; you engage and take the initiative to work toward resolution. Demonstrate your emotional maturity by being more humble, more patient, and more understanding.
You be the magnanimous one—one who is gracious, generous, and forgiving. The Latin roots from which we get our English word “magnanimous” are magna, meaning “great,” and animus, meaning “soul.” So the idea behind magnanimous is the meaning great soul— in other words, a mature soul or mature person. That is the best way to send the right signal to your team. Be a stolid role model.