As Minneapolis hosted Super Bowl LII, there were constant reminders of the popular Twitter hashtag #BoldNorth all over. Ironically, there were also constant reminders of #MNNice, too. Although the Vikings lost to the team that they ultimately hosted, Minnesota fans pulled out all the stops and their best behavior, welcoming Super Bowl visitors with open arms—mostly. Of course, there were rumblings of potential tricks and bouts of naughtiness, but in spirit, Minnesotans displayed the behavior they’re known for—being nice. #BoldNorth and #MNNice each tell the story of Minnesota, but isn’t it interesting that these two ideals coexist with one another as defining factors in our state’s culture?
Now, let’s consider this question at a deeper level. How can businesses, teams, and projects operate successfully while blending boldness and niceness in equal measure? In the workplace and in all facets of life, conflict is inevitable. In fact, conflict is one of the biggest inhibitors of team success. The good news? There are perhaps no traits better suited to conflict resolution than boldness and niceness in conjunction. Consider this combination of traits amounting to courageousness—the perfect blend of boldness and doing what’s right.
Firstly, let’s talk about being bold. If you want to tackle conflict successfully, you can’t operate from a place of fear. Ignoring bad behavior in hopes that it disappears sets a bad tone for the team, and it only delays an inevitable issue. Some leaders opt to accommodate and change processes so they won’t have to hurt anyone’s feelings. Others just engage in an endless shuffle, moving people around in organizations so that they don’t have to address bad behavior. While many of us naturally wish to avoid conflict, as leaders we must be bold enough to address it rather than let tensions fester and negatively impact our teams, projects, and businesses as a whole. It’s better to nip conflict in the bud through boldness, rather than let a bad seed be planted. In addition to being bold enough to address conflict, we must also be bold in our conversations and expectations up front. This is where the combined power of #BoldNorth and #MNNice comes into play. Being courageously straightforward from the outset is not only proactive, but it is actually a kindness performed for the health of your team. If ground rules and expectations are unflinchingly established, there is bound to be less room for contentiousness. Have the boldness and kindness to clearly define acceptable and unacceptable behaviors from the outset.
Here’s another way that #MNNice can inspire your approach to conflict resolution. Just as you shouldn’t address conflict from a place of fear, you also shouldn’t address conflict from a place of anger. Always take a strategic approach to addressing conflict. Enact some empathy and first consider each party’s motivations and where they’re coming from, or how their intentions might’ve been miscommunicated along the way. While you may not agree with their position, it helps prepare your mindset so that you can act from a place of considered understanding, rather than react with an emotional response.
While conflict is one of the most formidable seeming issues in a team setting, there’s a lesson to be learned from our great home state. A dose of #BoldNorth and #MNNice can go a long way to averting drama down the road and establishing a healthy approach to conflict resolution on your team.