by Michael Holland
“Take things always by their smooth handle” Thomas Jefferson
There is a civil and respectable way to deal with people and situational conflict. Seeking a smooth path, a path of least resistance for all parties involved, can produce greater outcomes.
As a leader, you make choices every day regarding how to handle conflict in situations which vary in intensity and exposure. Your behaviors as you manage and resolve these conflicts reveal your values and model how you expect your employees – and peers – to handle similar situations.
Maybe we are too far removed from working daily with our hands on tools as in Jefferson’s days. Maybe we can’t feel the difference of working with a new, rough shovel handle versus the well-worn, smooth handle, sensing the difference in comfort and confidence of the tool while reflecting on the parallels of tools to life with people.
Or possibly, for Jefferson, he had less dynamic people with whom he worked as they hammered out the wording for our Declaration of Independence.
To see more of Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts on conduct, see this website: wiki.monticello.org/mediawiki/index.php/Canons_of_Conduct
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