The better you are at forging relationships, especially with those who disagree with you, the more unstoppable you’ll become as a team builder and leader. CLEAR conflict by embracing it.

We cannot conquer monumental challenges alone, and you need all kinds of people on your team—with different backgrounds, experiences, and approaches to life and work—in order to bring different superpowers to the effort. The most challenging team-building moments are when you are forced to lead during divided times. Without question, your emotional intelligence—a foundational element of my CARE leadership framework, which is your ability to empathize and connect with team members and the people you serve—is the cornerstone of creating an unstoppable team.

I built a memory aid to help you (and me) always remember the actions required to embrace and work through conflict. The goal of embracing conflict is to foster a shared consciousness among teams members that is characterized by a unity of purpose that overcomes differences, a spirit of generosity that seeks to help others succeed, a respect for the expertise of others, a leaving aside of the need to seek credit or assign blame, and a focus on building trusting and respectful relationships. The memory aid is CLEAR, and the letters stand for:

Clarify Intent

CLEAR-ing starts with an initiator asking: “I have a topic I want to clear with you—is now a good time to discuss it?” State why and what you want to CLEAR with this person—be complimentary of the relationship you wish to preserve (i.e. “I enjoy working with you,” “I depend on you,” “Your work is vital,” etc.)

List Facts

Let the receiver know they will have an opportunity to respond after you list the facts and express your recent experience with them. When listing the facts—remember these are the facts as you perceive them—be prepared for different facts from the receiver. Be as specific, respectful, and unemotional as possible when listing facts.

Express Emotions

Explain how these facts and the receiver’s actions impacted your emotions. This is the initiator’s moment to “clear the air.” This stage of the CLEAR-ing exercise achieves two things: it enable the initiator to vent frustrations; and it highlights the consequences of the receiver’s actions.

Acknowledge Emotions

Now it is time for the receiver to acknowledge the initiator’s facts and emotions. During this time, the receiver re-states the initiator’s facts and emotions to demonstrate to the initiator they understand their point of view and frustrations.

Respond Respectfully

Once facts and emotions are confirmed and acknowledged by both sides, then it is the receiver’s turn to respond respectfully to the facts and emotions, and discuss the original positive intent of the receiver’s actions. The initiator states, “I am clear with you” only when dialogue is satisfactorily complete. Apologies, sharing lessons learned, and creating new processes are some of the ways to help complete the CLEAR-ing process and Be Unstoppable together.

Remember, connecting with all kinds of people is a process of trial and error, and your leadership limits are determined by the diversity of personalities whom you can connect with. Don’t despair if you don’t get everything right at first; your commitment to keep trying will also earn you TRUST.

BE UNSTOPPABLE Products and BE UNSTOPPABLE Courses can help you on your path to success. It is our mission to help you acquire not just the tools you need to survive uncertain times and adversity, but also to develop the mindset and actions required to thrive and accomplish more than you originally thought possible.