The Coach: Now I’m a team leader, how can I avoid conflict?

Self-awareness is the key to reacting better to situations or people that might set you off, says Matthew Turner

I have recently been promoted to be a team leader but I am slightly apprehensive. In the past, I have got into conflicts with some colleagues. Now I’m going to be a boss, I am not sure how I will handle things.  

Firstly, congratulations on your progression. My question to you is: how can we expect to work alongside different types of individuals in the workplace when we don’t know ourselves? Self-awareness is one of the most underrated soft skills. Being self-aware allows you to react better to situations or people who might set you off. It’s a healthy skill to cultivate – especially as a leader.  

In fact, a lack of self-awareness is one of the worst traits to experience in the workplace, especially when dealing with toxic coworkers or a bad boss who doesn’t understand why they’re failing as a leader.


When you’re aware of your emotions and how you handle them, you’re better equipped to process and work through them, avoiding unnecessary conflict.

So, how can you become self-aware, exactly? You should ask and answer questions about yourself in the present and the future. These could be: What are my goals and priorities? What are my three biggest strengths? What are my weaknesses at work? How do I think people would describe me? What do I want to achieve over the next two years? 

To get an accurate assessment, be honest with your answers. If you’re unsure, consider asking those closest to you for an honest assessment. This is a great way to see how others view you.  In possession of this valuable information, you can approach your new role with real insight.

AJ Coach Matthew Turner is an architect and careers consultant who runs the Building on Architecture consultancy. Email him in confidence at hello@buildingonarchitecture.com

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