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Ryan Reynolds on how learning conflict resolution changed his life and his approach to business

    At the Indeed FutureWorks conference held in October, Ryan Reynolds told reporters that a workshop he once attended on conflict resolution had an unexpected impact on his life.

    “We live in a world that’s increasingly gamified, and I think we have an instinct to win, crush, and kill. If you can sort of disengage or disarm that instinct for a second, and instead replace it with seeking to learn about somebody, that’s a leadership quality for me, at least, that has quite literally changed every aspect of my life.”

    In addition to his status as a Hollywood icon, Reynolds is an accomplished businessman. He owns a telecoms company (Mint Mobile), a marketing agency (Maximum Effort) and most recently an English football team (Wrexham AFC).

    He said that he took the session on conflict resolution because he wanted to get better after feeling “a little bit lost and a little bit angry” in his 20’s. Although he did add that “‘there’s still room for backstabbing someone”

    “Instead of just trying to win or beat somebody that I disagree with, if I’m mirroring, empathizing, and validating them, suddenly they’re an ally even if it doesn’t happen in the moment, you can’t address problems with other people unless you understand them.”

    Reynolds said that instead of focusing on winning the argument, he listens to what the other person is saying and acknowledges their feelings. “You can’t address problems with other people unless you understand them”.

    Our own conflict resolution sessions have been successful with businesses this year perhaps for many of these same reasons. In particular, we have a lecture on the “five approaches to managing conflict” that helps any one who is having to deal with difficult clients, suppliers or colleagues.

    It explains how disputes are resolved, where negative results are minimised and positive results are prioritised. With properly managed conflict, an organisation is able to minimise interpersonal issues, enhance client satisfaction, and produce better business outcomes. You don’t have to have a company full of a Hollywood A-listers to get the same benefits that Ryan Reynolds did – get in touch if you want to learn more.