Compliments of: Janine Moon, MA, Career & Business Coach
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Wed, Jul 28
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Conflict helps communication and growth
Every day we are expected to work in harmony with people from various backgrounds, different generations, personality types, organizational styles and behaviors. Yet, as executives from a variety of workplaces know, conflict between colleagues, managers and employees is inevitable. Tense situations lead to frustration and ennui, which in turn reduces productivity and saps morale. Developing a positive, productive and proactive workplace is therefore key to protecting the bottom line.
Effective and respectful communication that fosters positive working relationships is critical to employee satisfaction and performance. By successfully managing internal conflict, companies can keep ahead of the competition. Anger management expert, Dr. Tony Fiore, comments: "The effects of conflict in the workplace are widespread and costly. Its prevalence, as indicated by three serious studies, shows that 24-60% of management time and energy is spent dealing with anger."
WFiore's four steps to reducing conflict
Communication: use "I" statements; this demonstrates you own what you're feeling and saying, and models effective communication;
Boundaries: ensure respectful boundaries are established and actively work to maintain them;
Interactions: use emotional intelligence skills; be sensitive and practical, teach others both by example and by good leadership to work with their own and others' emotions;
Consequences: develop behavioral consequences to deal with those employees who will not change, and stick to your guns when the going gets tough.
Differing styles of communication often lead to problems, yet good communication is paramount to working through issues. Keeping the voice low, slowing down the pace, and actively listening to others' viewpoints are all important ways to facilitate peaceful discussion.
Work to clear up misunderstandings by acknowledging the perspectives of each party and by turning the points of disagreement into a structure for resolution. Recognize the different personality types in your workplace -- use your emotional intelligence skills -- and use these traits to support individuals involved in conflict. Identify common ground; ask questions instead of delivering orders. Remember to look at the facts, not necessarily the behaviors involved. If a solution isn't obvious, brainstorm with others to find one. If the situation escalates, step back and take a time out.
Take into consideration the generational differences among employees and employees and managers. Traditional patriarchal styles of management don't have the same effect on GenXers as with their Baby Boomer parents. If you're a boomer manager, understanding the expectations and values of GenXers is important in helping you resolve issues by staying objective. Invest in continuing education on conflict and communication for both managers and employees -- develop a process for managing these issues and maintain boundaries. Strive to maximize the benefits of workplace conflict, accept it and deal with it appropriately. When dealing with conflict, the step-by-step skills you use and impart in order to resolve situations are just as important as the bigger picture: keep an open mind and unbiased stance in the face of conflict and model effective, timely, and proactive ways to manage it.
WValue diversity, learn appropriate workplace behavior
As Mary Rau-Foster, RN JD, author and nationally known speaker who specializes in workplace issues, states in her article, It's a Whole New World: Is Your Management Style Up To Date?: "It is very helpful for managers to understand what has shaped their employees' values and beliefs. It is through this understanding that problems can be understood, conflicts anticipated, and needs met."
While diversity training is one approach to learning others' values, a more effective approach is to model and coach people on expectations for appropriate workplace behaviors, including empathy, reflective listening, resilience, respect and partnering; and excluding competitive or "Lone Ranger" behaviors. Then, workplace rewards and recognition can be structured to specifically support the new expectations while withdrawing rewards or support for the "outdated" behaviors.
Looking for a new and intriguing topic for your conference program, lunch series, or seminar/workshop schedule? Consider Janine as a keynoter, workshop leader or breakout session facilitator on these topic areas (each tailored to your audience): How's Your RQ: Resilience Quotient?; Generational Synergies; Treading Water in Corporate America; Career R&R: Career Resilience & Self-Reliance; Mentoring; and Authentic Leadership.
“Our work is the presentation of our capabilities.”
Today's organizations are often in a constant state of flux, grappling with changes caused by improved technology, workplace culture and value shifts, and global competition. Woven into these variables is the potential for conflict that comes from workers with diverse personalities, backgrounds, values and beliefs. I assist in providing management teams and employee groups in identifying behavioral styles and attitudes, teaching, monitoring and providing feedback on issues such as conflict resolution; internal customer relations; listening skills; respect for diversity of Baby Boomers and Generation X; developing team expectations and ground rules. With over 25 years of coaching and consulting experience in corporate environments, you can rely on my expertise as I've sat on both sides of the table. -JM
If you have thought about coaching, but just aren’t sure how to begin, call or e-mail me, I’ll introduce you to coaching and you can “try it on” with no commitment, only learning! – JM
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