Conflict at Work 4
So, we’ve had a long look at conflict at work. And all of this applies equally in all areas of life. Now it is important to ask yourself:
How important is this?
When you are in a situation where conflict or potential conflict is about, ask yourself how important is this issue? What will this mean to you next week, next month or next year?
The reality is that most of us can look back over a year at things that were so vitally important at the time yet are simply not important now. You can remember having an argument with someone, but you can’t remember what it was about – so how important was it?
And yet the relationship remains damaged. Was it worth it?
Now, ask yourself, what is the cost of continuing this situation?
This really is the old saying about cutting off your nose to spite your face.
In a work situation this does lead to poor performance. Lack of co-operation or a reluctance to seek the support we need to do something effectively is a side effect of conflict. We worry about another person’s reaction to us asking for help, or we fear that it will be seen as a loss of face.
Going for the BIG conversation….Rehearse what you want to say.
Give yourself time to consider what message you want to get over. If it helps, draft yourself some notes. Otherwise, simply rehearse in your head. It helps you to feel in control and to consider all the points you want to cover.
As the saying goes, whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. So, if you perceive that a conversation will be difficult, it will.
However, a good side effect of rehearsing is the power of your imagination. When you picture yourself being in control, saying what you want to say and getting a positive response, you are giving yourself the message that this will be a positive exchange.
If you believe you can have difficult conversation and get a positive outcome then you are more likely to enter dialogue in a positive frame of mind.
Seek your own clarity. There is no loss of face in excusing yourself from a hostile situation to give yourself time to consider your response. By giving yourself thinking space, practising what you want to say, your confidence in dealing with conflict will grow.
How well do you know your own boundaries?
Understanding what is important to you and what you are not prepared to compromise can be an important step in avoiding potential conflict.
Many of us don’t recognise our core values are until they are compromised by a situation. If honesty is important to you, you are likely to end up arguing with someone who is quite happy to bend the rules to get what they want. If we don’t have the confidence to confront this breach we find that we start to tolerate our values being pushed around. The boundaries are stretched and the edges become blurred. We lose ourselves in someone else’s version of life.
Consider who has jurisdiction over your values. Who sets your boundaries?
If you tolerate other people setting the standards or pushing at your boundaries, you are likely to find that your pressure value may explode.
Don’t compromise who you are. Set your own boundaries for what is acceptable to you and stick to them.
And finally, Communication, communication, communication.
Nearly all conflict is the result of poor communication. The only place for mushroom management is on a mushroom farm.
Consider that whenever you deal with someone, a lot is going on in their lives that you cannot see. We are all like icebergs, showing only what is on the surface. All of our skills, values, strengths, support systems and whatever else that define who we are as a person are under the surface.
Whenever you are talking to someone never assume that you know what is happening in their lives. Keep conversations respectful. Speak to others in a way you would like to be spoken to yourself.
Communication is only as good the response that it gets. The meaning of what you say is with the recipient. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they understand what you mean. Even ask them to repeat back what you have said so that you can both agree on the meaning.
And if you don’t get the response you want, ask yourself “how can I change my communication to get a better response.”
And remember, most people can’t read minds, regardless of what we think.