Want to know a secret? There’s something successful individuals have in common that got them the results they got.  

By “success” I’m not necessarily talking about the dollar bills they may have accumulated. Yes, along the way many successful individuals may have made millions (or in some cases billions) but that alone doesn’t make them successful.  Successful people might even have millions of followers on social media but that too doesn’t make them truly successful. Think of Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson or Sara Blakely. All these folks have massive achievement on a financial scale, and an even massive number of followers on social media, but they would all tell you their success was based on something else. It wasn’t the how they earned their wealth; it was the what they did.

In other words, they all share the same skill, the what, that ultimately helped them be successful. Success is about being influential. It is the ability to take ideas and inspiring others into action. It is about understanding people’s needs and getting those needs met. Ultimately, our success in any given field, any one job, or even a specific project or task, will be in direct proportion to our ability to be influential with others.

Influence is impossible without, and here’s the secret, the ability to effectively communicate and manage conflict. No matter what your expertise, or degree, you will most likely confront conflict in your chosen profession at some point. This isn’t being negative; it’s just being realistic. 

I know because I’ve been an Ombuds for over 2 decades in a variety of sectors (corporate, academic, non-profit and governmental) and I can say with certainty that conflict happens everywhere. No field is immune. No sector perfect. Conflict is normal. Granted, conflict doesn’t feel good and we don’t want to stay in conflict but it will happen because conflicts are almost always about relationships and we are always connected to people. Think of a personal relationship. Everything seems wonderful in the beginning until there’s that moment when conflict happens. And so, if we’re honest with ourselves, how well do we manage those conflicts? The reality is that if we don’t manage conflict we might have what I call a “breakdown”. We shut down, we get stressed out, maybe we even quit or stop being fully engaged in the work we do. On the other hand, if we manage conflict successfully we’ll have a “breakthrough”. We’ll elevate the relationship to a better place, maybe we’ll work more effectively because we’ve dealt with the unspoken and addressed our needs.

In order to be better equip to handle problems, the University Ombuds Office has created a series of workshops, called the Student Conflict Coaching Series (SCCS), to help Virginia Tech students become more successful in managing conflict on campus and in the workplace.  SCCS (see what I did there?) workshops will include, in part, how conflicts occur, our different conflict styles and tools & strategies for better interactions. In other words, the building blocks so that we can be more influential, and in turn, more successful in everything we do.  

Read more about SCCS by clicking hereTake a step towards SCCS and join us.