|Careers & Employment Information|
Difficult Relationships at Work - Dealing with Workplace Conflict
Difficult Relationships at Work - How to Influence the Uncooperative
We rely on and spend more time with our colleagues than with most other people in our lives: yet we frequently experience conflict at work. This is a problem that is beginning to be recognised, but it is still not being dealt with either effectively or sufficiently. Conflict is such a broad term for what can be experienced, ranging from office gossip to outright bullying. In nearly every single office there are always going to be personality clashes at some point, and most of the time they will be fairly easily sorted out. However, sometimes they aren't and there is often no other option than to resign. The real problem underlying this situation is that people really don't have the skills to deal with these kinds of situations. They frequently accept the problem when it is happening and then get really upset afterwards.
The Five Strategies for Dealing with Conflict
This is the most frequently used strategy along with accommodation. Here conflict is avoided and when it does appear the person using this strategy refuses to engage in the situation.
Example: Someone making a sly comment and the person it was aimed at simply walking away.
While this obviously is not a good way of dealing with conflict the majority of the time as it tends not to help, it is worth being considered as a strategy for when the conflict is just not worth the effort of being addressed.
Here you take the conflict and submit.
Example: Listening to unhelpful criticism and believing it.
Again, very frequently used especially where there is low confidence and self-esteem. This is another not very successful method of dealing with conflict, but it will do if you know that there is a solution coming soon.
This one means that you play the person at his or her own game and work hard to get your own way in the conflict.
Example: Someone starts spreading rumours about you, so you do the same in return in an attempt to discredit the power of the other person's word.
This can be very useful when the conflict is mild and you are passionate about your stance, but can lead to a vicious circle as the conflict escalates. Be very sure you want to use this strategy as lowering yourself to someone else's level rarely shows you in the best light.
A much more useful tactic to use: here you don't give in to the conflict, but work out a solution somewhere between the two sides.
Example: Someone delegates a huge amount of work to your already over-filled plate, you respond by taking on some of it, and then recommending that this person parcel out the rest to other people.
This is the strategy of choice for most untrained managers as this is how we frequently deal with children in real life - and so it is a behaviour we all know about. This can of course lead to the obvious downfall of the actual solution leaving none of the sides happy. This is best to use when the goal is to get past the issue and move on - with the issue having relatively little significance.
The most useful tactic, particularly with extremes of conflict such as bullying. The aim here is to focus on working together to arrive at a solution, where both sides have ownership of and commitment to the solution.
You and someone else are at completely opposed viewpoints over a project. You sit down with them and work out why they believe in their point of view, and explain your own. Clever and lateral thinking can provide a solution, which answers both sides, but is not a compromise.
Someone is bullying you at work. You talk to this person using the strategies below and collaborate on modifying their behaviour.
Use this strategy when the goal is to meet as many of the current needs as is possible. The most difficult strategy if confidence is low as it involves actually naming the issue to the conflict-creator, which can cause huge anxiety and fear.
To collaborate successfully on an issue such as bullying or continuing conflict you need to follow a few basic guidelines.
- You must recognise that part of the problem is your own fault: you allowed it to happen and did not try to address it to begin with. You can use this aloud and actively take part of the responsibility, as this will put the onus onto the other person to take the other part of the responsibility.
- Remember that we frequently don't like in others what we don't want to see in ourselves, but find occasionally anyway. Be very sure that you have not committed the same conflict and that you do not in the future.
- Manage yourself during the resolution attempt - learn calming strategies if you are hot-tempered, or confidence boosters if you are shy. Try not to be emotional, as emotion will only make things escalate.
- Maintain eye contact and use your body language to convey your belief in what you are saying. Don't fiddle with something nervously, don't cross your arms protectively, and don't put yourself on a lower level than the other person (such as sitting on a lower chair).
- Don't believe that the best defence is a good offence - that is part of the Competing strategy.
- Work the issue, not the person: this means addressing the behaviour rather than the entire existence of that person. There is a different level of ownership for behaviours, and people will take less offence if you criticise their behaviour than if you criticise them personally. Never lay blame, as this will only fan the fires.
- If you are not getting anywhere, ask for further information from the other person about the reasons for their behaviour, but don't ask the questions with 'why' at the beginning - if you do this will actively put the other person under the spotlight and they will get defensive.
Remember above all, that people who enjoy creating conflict are ultimately power-seekers who enjoy controlling others. Frequently this is because either they have suffered in a similar way before or feel that they have very little control over their own lives and does anything they can to feel in control. A little compassion will take you a long way both in resolving the situation and in putting it behind you when it is resolved.
A Final Word on Bullying
Dr Gary Namie, co-founder and president of the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, conducted an online survey of 1,000 people who claimed to have been bullied at work, finding that 37% were eventually fired, and 33% quit their jobs. In a reversal of the typical childhood bullying scenario, in which unpopular and apparently weak kids are picked on most, adult victims in the workplace tend to be very capable and charismatic people. The bully sees them as a threat, and determines to get them out of the picture. Most workplace bullies are thought to be women -- 58% according to those Namie surveyed -- and so are their targets -- 80% of those surveyed. The estimated figure is that half the adult population will experience severe conflict at work at least once in their working life. That is a scary statistic - and the majority of people don't expect conflict and don't know how to deal with it when it intrudes.
Bullying conjures up images of schools and young children, but it is growing trend in the workplace, which is rarely tackled openly even if you are lucky enough to have policies to deal with this issue. There are legal options to take should the strategies above not resolve the conflict. Don't ever just put up with bullying, seek help and advice.
To learn more about bullying and what you can do about it, I recommend visiting www.bullyonline.org - it has a lot of good information and further resources.
Charlotte Burton is a Licensed Career Coach & Psychometric Assessor. For more information and to sign up for the ezine, view the website at http://www.lifeisvital.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your complimentary consultation.
Get In The Game With a Stellar Resume
During the job hunter's market of the 1990's, employers were settling for less than qualified candidates because the candidate pool was so small. Job hunters were able to name their price and employers were meeting their demands.
Why Bachelors Make Bad Decisions: Five Tips to Move from Reality Television to Your Career Change
The Bachelor is one of the many reality shows that have gripped the US television viewing audience.
Keep Your Phone Costs Down!
When you're looking for work, some of your expenses will change. You may not commute daily since you won't need a monthly commuter ticket, but each time you travel to an interview by public transportation, it will cost more.
Stepping Stone Jobs
What we name something matters.
4 Niche Job-Search Tips
Looking for a job on the Internet can be daunting. Where do you start? What Web sites are best for your industry?
Home Healthcare Careers
One of the fastest growing sectors of the medical industry is that of home health. There are many reasons for this growth, but most important are:
War Time Hiring: 5 Steps to Attract Top Talent
A recent report, titled "The War for Talent" stated that over the next 20 years, employee talent will be what differentiates successful companies from those going bust. The late 90's gave us a glimpse of the talent war, but was nothing compared to what's ahead. Here are five ways to bulletproof your company before the battle begins.
Ode to a Spoon
"Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have." --Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel (1907-1990)
From The WorkWise Collection: Ten Ways to Win the Job Search Mind Game
Are you one of the thousands of job seekers who question their sanity, marketability, and capacity to make smart decisions-just because you've lost your job? Are you wondering how to overcome these psychological challenges, rebuild your self-confidence, increase your marketability, and regain your sense of sanity?
Should You Lie On Your Resume?
Warning: Lying on your resume could cost you your job and your freedom.
The Importance of Background Verification
Today's society has created an environment that requires business owners to be armed with numerous tools. Many employers currently spend little time verifying the accuracy of employment applications and the cost of not doing normal due diligence can be staggering.
5 Simple Rules for A Great Job Interview
Many years ago, when I was a young job-searching greenhorn, I ventured to New York City to take a bite out of the big apple of opportunity.
Kill the Hype
She was waiting for me when I returned from a meeting. Standing outside my office door, I could tell by her downward glance, Jodie was not there to give me good news on the project. Despite her confident, enthusiastic and definitive style, she failed to deliver what she had pitched. It was not the first time.
Career Strategy When Your Boss is a Bully
Q. Right after I accepted my new position, the manager who hired me quit. I now have a boss "Sam" who's a classic bully. He has most of the office terrorized. Every question becomes a confrontation. Last week, he walked into the conference room as I was meeting with a customer and began berating me about a missing fax. Our Regional VP has asked us to be understanding because Sam has family and health problems. I've only been here two months. Should I begin looking for a new job?
8 ?Thurvival Skills? for 05
Just what is a "thurvival skill?" It's a skill that let's you thrive and survive at the same time. In today's economy it's not enough to just be good. You need to be better than your counterparts and colleagues. It's all about creating an action plan to keep you name in the limelight and on the top of the list. What list am I talking about? The one that says call X, hire X or X is the best person for the job. Or event he list that reads we can get rid of everyone but X. Is this person you? It could be.
Playing from the Blue Tees: Women in the Federal Government
Throughout the past decade, workplace diversity issues have allowed organizations to adjust their policies in response to the need for workplace equality in all aspects. As a result of the dynamic political, social and economic changes, some companies have willingly become more inclusive, integrating women, people of color, gays/lesbians, and individuals with disabilities into their workforce at all levels of their organizations. However, others have failed to make this paradigm shift. The Federal government has failed to see the benefits of a diverse workforce, which is evident by the lack of diversity of the people it serves. Research by the Center for Creative Leadership (2002), show women in business have been required to adapt to a well established hierarchal system built around the strengths of its majority of male players. As women have entered the workplace, they initially try to create only a modest variant in a male dominated workplace. Gender diversity could be very beneficial to the Federal government, causing greater creativity in group decision-making and improved task performance.
9 Secrets to Career Success
Are you miserable at your job (or what you are doing) but go anyway to earn a living? Do you feel you are unable to use your talents and are doing things that are stressful? Do you find yourself in a career rut? Wouldn't you rather be in your ideal income position and "Go to Play" everyday? Most people spend approximately 35% to over 67% of their waking hours working. Being unhappy for so much of the day makes it difficult to enjoy the rest of your waking hours. Think how your life will turn around when you are actually enjoying your "work." In your ideal career you will be doing what you love and be so good at it that you will produce considerable value which will attract more rewards (including money) than you need.
Career Development - When Its Time for a Change
There's a certain courage required to hear your gut. To really be true to how you are feeling. And that is never more important than in your career. Sometimes people feel that they are not completely happy. At other times they might have a sense of distance from the business or organisation they are in.This lack of 'alignment' makes for discomfort - and many people listen to it for the whole of their careers (and lives) and yet never truly hear it.So what are the clues that can help us realise that if change is in the air, it is a good thing, rather than something to fear? Here are 19 things to look out for:-
How to Conquer Job Hunting Apathy
Jack, downsized from his last job, was frozen in a place called Apathy. Had been for months now. Knew he had to get moving, had to find a job, but ? just couldn't seem to get his act together. Oh, he'd tried ? a little. But his lack of immediate success just made him that much more apathetic.
Chicken Soup for Job Seekers
Do you want to change your job but don't know the right way to go about it? Are you vacillating between waiting for your dream job or accepting the first one that comes your way? Or are you a fresher falling in line with what your parents wish you to be rather than what you wish to be? If this is the kind of situation you find yourself in, then the next few minutes will help you get a clearer picture. Here is our bowl of chicken soup for the job seeker's soul. Read on?
|Home | Site Map | Careers | Australian Domain Names | UK Domain Names | Investment Property | Sydney Web Hosting | Email Hosting | NZ Website Hosting | NZ Domain Names|