Every business depends on the people who run it — from the CEO to the janitor. They all have a job that seeks to promote a positive, profession and productive environment. First, we need to remember our similar goals when conflict arises. Is there an issue in your workspace?
Today, a lot of communication is done electronically, which adds another dimension to create communication misunderstandings with the result being conflict. Is conflict always bad? I don’t believe so. Everything that expands or changes encounters conflict. Your business is not different; when you put humans working toward a goal, you just have to know that conflict is inevitable.
When we encounter conflict, we have the opportunity to grow. In these difficult times we are forced to change or alter perspectives. Sometimes these perspectives can be our own and sometimes they affect others. These changes in perspective can create new ideas and directions what will help the business to flourish.
What are conflict triggers? Personal stress of daily life, taking everything said around you personally, being judgmental to others and making assumptions and not taking personal responsibility. There are also different cooping mechanisms we use when encounter conflict. Examples are avoiding or dismissing the issue and closing yourself off to communication. Some will act like a victim and, of course, some will attack.
You can tell employees to leave their personal life at home; however you need to understand that this will never happen. Work and home life take so many hours of a day that when something happen in the one, it will inevitably affect the other.
Here are five tangible ways to guide conflict between coworkers to resolution.
- Hone your listening skills. Listening is more than hearing the words. When you truly listen to someone you hear their tone of voice and you see the body language. This even works over the phone if you truly are honing in.. When people are truly listened to, they get the sense that they are a part of the team and acknowledge that they are appreciated.
- Practice giving constructive feedback. What is the emotional state of the receiver? Is he or she ready to listen? What steps can I take when the moment becomes too heated? If you are receiving feedback, ask yourself if you are viewing and treating feedback as a learning opportunity. Honest feedback goes both ways creates an opening for dialogue.
- Become curious and ask powerful questions. Start your questions with what, when, where and how. Don’t necessarily focus on why. Doing this, you will find that you create an open space where people can respond to your questions and don’t feel that they have to defend themselves.
- Don’t take things personally. Remember this suggestion from above? It’s worth repeating. Keep in mind the personal stress of co-workers from their own daily life. What a person tells you is often a reflection of what is going on in his or her life. Each person in your office has his or her own hopes and fears and a network of people around them that have affected who they are in that moment. If someone snaps at you, first take a moment to acknowledge what may have happened outside of the work environment and try to not to immediately take it personally.
- Let go of judgment. When communicating with a person who is in a judgmental state of mind, there is no way to negotiate your thoughts or point of view. They already made up their mind about how something should be and are not open to a different idea. Isn’t that a terrible situation to be in? Make sure you are not putting someone else through this. Let go of your own judgment and embrace the situation in the moment.
Ellen Nyland has overcome many challenges in life with insight, humor and intelligence. After moving from the Netherlands to Ontario Canada in 1998, She became a certified professional coactive coach in 2008 and has completed, a Co-Active Leadership Program from The Coaches Training institute located in San Rafael, California. is a certified co-active coach living in London, Ontario and owns Stepping Stones Life Coaching specialized in business and family relationships. Ellen has also owned a dairy farm for more than 29 years. Visit ellennyland.com for information. She is the author of “Life is Great, Even When it Sucks.”