A Strengths-Based Approach to Difficult Situations

Welcome to the Leadership Vision Podcast, where we share our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a Strengths-Based approach to people, teams, and culture.

Today on the podcast, Carrie Jones and I are talking about how our Strengths help us handle difficult situations.

This conversation was recorded back in July of 2017, almost three years ago to the day! This was originally recorded as part of a multi-part Facebook Live series we did as a sort of pre-cursor to the podcast.

We had a handful of people who watched it when it first aired, but not as much traffic when we published it on our blog the following week. I found it incredibly relevant to our present times. In fact, at a couple of points during the recording, it almost seemed like we had just recorded it.

We know difficult situations are inevitable. You can’t really prepare for them, but there are five things we believe all of us can do to get through difficult times a bit better. In this episode, we spend time defining terms, then offer five suggestions for managing difficult situations, with examples from our personal lives and the life of our company. Perhaps we’ll revisit this with 2020 examples.

At the end of the episode, we issue a reflection challenge to make your next difficult situation just a bit better. The episode begins with Carrie sharing a recap from the episode before this about how to be a good team member. As you’ll hear, it’s relevant for many reasons. Enjoy!

A Quick Production Note

The audio quality isn’t great, as one of us was recording in a noisy office. Many of you probably wouldn’t have noticed, but we’ve learned A TON about audio recording in these past three years and it’s driving my Maximizer crazy. But, I’m putting that aside because I think you’ll find this to be helpful.

What are Difficult Situations?

We break difficult situations down into two big categories: conflicts and challenges. While similar, they aren’t the same, and each presents unique obstacles. In short, a conflict is most often with a person (or group of people), while a challenge is an “event” type of a situation you work to overcome together.

We need to understand how we respond to different circumstances to move through difficult situations effectively. We’ll talk about how our Strengths show up (or don’t) in difficult scenarios.

How do you Get Through A Difficult Situation?

In this episode, we share five things you can do to help navigate difficult situations. These aren’t meant to be the only things you need. Just really helpful reminders and a place to begin building a stronger team.

  1. Discuss topics, not people. Sometimes difficult situations are tense and very emotionally charged. It’s important to remember to talk about the situation, and not about the other person. If you don’t, you may lose sight of the issues at hand.
  2. Give feedback that is honest and constructive. Both things are important here. If you’re going to offer feedback (a more productive way to say criticism), make sure it’s a true reflection of what you think/feel, and also offers a way for that person to overcome it.
  3. Assume positive intent. We use this term a lot because it’s important. Many difficult situations can be avoided by giving someone the benefit of the doubt before rushing to judgment.
  4. Avoid gossip or offline conversations. Quite simply, don’t talk behind people’s backs!
  5. Speak directly to a person, not around a person. Similar to number four above, if you have an issue with a specific person or group of people, talk to them. Don’t talk to people indirectly related to the situation.

A Challenge

Dig into a recent difficult encounter you had and ask for feedback from a person who was involved in that situation. How’d you do, what could you have done better? This will be uncomfortable, but we think you’ll be better because of it. We’d love to hear how it goes!

About The Leadership Vision Podcast

The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherSpotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Please contact us if you have ANY questions about anything you heard in this episode or if you’d like to talk to us about helping your team understand the power of Strengths.

If you’d like to be featured on the Leadership Vision Podcast, let us know how you are using Strengths and what impact it has made. Contact us here!