Do you have a stupid boss?
Well, maybe not stupid, just indecisive, or slow in answering?
Or perhaps you have an incompetent colleague.
You know, one who always messes up the report and you must fix everything?
And then there is the passive-aggressive direct report.
That’s the one who says “yes” and does “no” and then stares at you with that awful deer in the headlights look of innocence.
How do you respond to them? You know deep inside you have a choice. However, in the moment of exasperation, it often feels hopeless.
And then that voice in your head, the one that sounds like your conscience says gently, “You know the only one you can change is you.”
When I hear that pleasant, kindly voice, all I want to say is “Zip it!”
Yet, that’s where the truth resides. Therefore, when it comes to conflict resolution in the workplace ya gotta start by looking inside yourself.
I know, I know, it’s so much easier to point the finger of blame out there. It’s less painful and even, I must admit, more enjoyable.
I looked and looked and didn’t find any credible research from neuro-science that blaming others makes you feel good. Maybe it’s just like eating sugary foods, good for the moment but not really healthy long term.
I do know that in my early career, I have really felt better using conflict management strategies that placed the reason for the mess on someone else’s shoulders.
Think about it.
If you can manage conflict in the workplace by saying “It’s not me, it’s him or her or them, don’t you feel the burden lifted from your back?
Also, we don’t really have to blame another person. We can blame the economy, the government, or even the weather.
Or we can call in the stress card. “It’s my hormones or my stomach, or my gall bladder that got me so mad or sad. And that’s why I can’t figure out how to resolve conflict. I’m at the mercy of my bodily functions.”
Here’s the short cut to go from mad or sad to glad
Good news…it only takes a few minutes of concentrated time:
- Count and breathe: Take a few deep breaths for practice. Then breath in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. That’s a full breath. Do these seven times. That helps you get more oxygen to your brain and most of the time has a calming effect.
- Ask the BIG question: ask yourself, what do you want as an outcome from all this upset. Do you want an apology or do you need to apologize? Do you want acknowledgement or do you need acknowledgement? Do you want an answer or do you need to give an answer?
- Think relationships: when it comes to managing conflict in the workplace think in terms of on-going of how you and others interact. Yes, the basic aspect of conflict lies in the realm of relationships. And please remember, just a few kind words can go a long way, like healing salve on a wound.
I’d love to hear how you handle stress and conflict at work. What can you add to this?
The first people to respond will get a fun surprise…Just send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.