20 Apr Handle Office Conflict Like A Boss
Office conflict, in my opinion, has a bad reputation of having an adverse impact on company culture. Granted if your employees start getting personal, physical or start talking about nuclear weapons the conflict has probably gone too far.
Dealing with and embracing conflict takes both maturity and social skills from both parties but if done with the right attitude and within the right environment it can boost both productivity and leadership within your organisation. Check out my five tips for dealing with office conflict.
1. Conflict Can Be A Good Thing
What can be confused as a negative type of conflict could be just two people that are passionate about their ideas and views. A meeting or strategic session is a great forum for this type of conflict as they can progress into some of the best team building sessions you will ever have. These sessions can often result in being a group idea or opinion rather than an individual.
Note: This type of conflict should not confuse with workplace bullying or personal attacks.
TIP: Check out the book “Death by Meeting” by Patrick Lencioni. It’s a great read about creating engaging controlled meetings.
2. Try Using Positive Language
When providing feedback or having differences, delivery and language can make or break the outcome. With our busy lifestyles, we tend to get a little lazy with our language which can be understood negatively and defensively. Check out some examples below
Example 1 – It’s an excellent idea to give a solution.
Negative – You didn’t complete this task.
Positive – To finish this off, I’ll need to do the following.
Example 2. Try not to be a victim
Negative – Sorry, I can’t help you now I’ve too much work on, and I’m busy.
Positive – I’ve got some free time tomorrow at 10am to help you out. I will send you a calendar invite.
3. Different People Have Different Personalities
I know when having a conversation with Nick I’ve got all of five minutes to explain an idea before I lose him. In this time, I need to make it as bright and colourful as possible, and he will respond effectively. If I were to explain the same idea to his brother Bernard, I need to have a more detailed plan of what I want to do and how much it is going to cost. If I were to approach Bernard the same way as I approach Nick, I wouldn’t get very far.
Both these personalities have strengths and weaknesses and are required in all successful businesses as they create innovation, structure and accountability.
4. Don’t Settle Conflict Electronically
Conflict can escalate very quickly over email or social media. Therefore, in my opinion, the only effective way to resolve any conflict is either in person or at the very least a quick phone call.
5. Be The Bigger Person
It’s always important to keep management up-to-date with any serious conflict that is happening. Conflict can be distracting and have a negative impact on efficiency.
Management will often knock any serious conflict on the head quickly or advise a solution on how you might be able to resolve it.
Now that you have the equipment to deal with all sorts of conflict it’s important to remember that unless it’s in the right forum, the best conflict is no conflict.