“They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself” – Andy Warhol
Have you ever been advised that all you need is some time? Definitely this advice is handed out when your heart is broken or you are grieving the loss of someone you love. The idea is that when there is enough time between you and your loss, you will heal.
Is it really time that does the healing or is it how you change as time passes that does the healing?
As a leader you know that there are situations when it makes sense to avoid conflict. An appropriate time to avoid conflict is when you can sense that everyone needs time to cool down. If you are observing a situation where the discussion is becoming unreasonably heated and participants are becoming too emotional and are at risk of damaging their professional relationships with one another, step in and prescribe a cool down period.
What happens during the cool down period? Does the issue magically resolve itself? Do unreasonable people become reasonable? The issue may be resolved during the cool down period and unreasonable people may become reasonable. Time helped to make these changes possible, but time alone did not make the changes. The issue was resolved because the parties involved were able to calm down and think clearly. The unreasonable person became reasonable because she used the time to think about her actions and to think about how she really wants to behave. Perhaps you used the cool down period to speak with each party individually to help them express their concerns and to help them see beyond the emotional aspect of the conflict.
When you want to make changes, time is your tool, but you must pick up that tool and use it.
Take time to make the changes you desire the most.