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  • Ryan Reynolds says learning conflict resolution has changed his life, career, and approach to business.
  • “You can’t address problems with other people unless you understand them,” he said at Indeed’s FutureWorks conference on Thursday.
  • “There’s still room for backstabbing someone and then tasting the blood of your enemies,” he said jokingly. “But it’s never going to be as effective as trying to understand somebody.”

When you think of meaningful leadership lessons, conflict resolution probably isn’t the very first thing that comes to mind, but it does for Ryan Reynolds. 

The “Deadpool” actor credits conflict resolution with transforming his life and approach to business.

“We live in a world that’s increasingly gamified, and I think we have an instinct to win, crush, and kill,” he said at Indeed’s FutureWorks conference on Thursday. “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.”

Reynolds said he learned about conflict resolution when he attended a workshop on it after feeling “a little bit lost and a little bit angry” in his 20s.

“I wanted to fix something. I wanted to get better,” he said. “So I took this workshop in conflict resolution, and I didn’t expect it to, but it really changed my life and it changed how I applied those principles in business in particular.”

Reynolds owns prepaid carrier Mint Mobile and Maximum Effort, a production company and digital marketing agency. He bought Aviation American Gin in 2018 and sold the brand two years later for an estimated $610 million.

He also bought low-level professional English soccer team Wrexham AFC in 2020 with fellow actor Rob McElhenney.

“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,” he added. “You can’t address problems with other people unless you understand them.”

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