Are You Tired of Drama and Stress at Work?

Workplace Conflict is Inevitable…but it doesn’t have to be painful and destructive.

What if…you could learn how to transform conflict into healthier conversations and relationships?

Having studied this topic for years, what I’ve learned is that not only is healthy, productive conflict possible, but it’s also a critical part of how a cohesive, high-performing, high-achieving team gains a competitive advantage for your organization.

Learning how to manage conflict effectively and encourage your team members to use it to solve problems with better solutions, is one of the most critical skills a leader in today’s business world must develop.

I can help you with this. 

Attend my live event – Keys to Overcoming Difficult Work Relationships or ask me about scheduling a session in your organization. 

In the meantime, you can download my free guide:  4 Approaches to Conflict and how to Choose the Right One. 

Conflict may be part of life.  But it doesn’t have to ruin your day.

Making Conflict Productive

Based on the feedback I’ve had from my previous articles on conflict in the workplace and dealing with difficult people, I’ve learned that this is one of the biggest challenges we face in our daily lives.  And that means that figuring out how to turn conflict from a negative to a positive force can be very beneficial for business leaders.

  1. Recognize that conflict is inevitable. It’s universal.  It can’t always be “resolved,” but it can be productive, constructive and a positive force in your business.
  2. Understand how you typically deal with conflict. Most of us have a pattern that includes at least some destructive behavior.  Examples include:  arguing with a need to win at all costs, withdrawing or caving in to avoid unpleasantness, seeking revenge and plotting sabotage and my personal favorite—passive aggression.
  3. Identify your triggers. What sets you off?  What makes you feel threatened?  What draws you in to a conflict? Reflecting on past conflicts might help to determine patterns.
  4. Reframe the situation. Is there another way to look at it?  How else could you respond? Can you see it from another person’s perspective?  Ask yourself:  what if what I think I see is invalid or untrue?  What might I be missing?
  5. Seek a more productive response. Pause and consider how “your best self” would handle the situation.  What behaviors have you observed in others that you appreciate and that you can emulate? Reflect on a past situation that could have been handled differently.

Following these steps consistently will help you improve the way you handle conflict.  And, as a leader, it’s critical for you to model the behavior you want to see in the rest of your team.

Next time, we will explore some of the team dynamics around conflict, how to identify unhealthy conflict on your team, and what to do about it.  Teams that engage in constructive conflict are more productive and they make better decisions.

In the meantime, let me know your experience with these steps and how they apply in your situation.

 

Dealing With Conflict: Effective Leadership Practices

Based on all the comments on my recent article Dealing With Difficult People, I realized that dealing with conflict is not only a fact of everyday life, but also takes many varied forms.

Here are the top 10 suggestions and reminders I received that were particularly insightful and helpful:

  1. Realizing we are all “difficult” at times and we never know what else is going on in someone’s life at any given time.
  2. Recognizing and owning your own role in a difficult situation gets you further faster.
  3. Sharing ownership for finding a solution may avoid difficulty.
  4. Helping people feel safe when they may be vulnerable.
  5. Remembering to keep challenging interactions in a private space.
  6. Acknowledging there are people who enjoy creating drama, chaos and disruption; there are people who choose to be miserable; establishing boundaries to limit your exposure whenever possible.
  7. Demonstrating patience and non-judgment in difficult situations.
  8. Distinguishing whether the person is being deliberately difficult or having a difficult time herself? What are the motives or reasons behind the behavior?
  9. Dealing with difficulties as soon as possible and in a straightforward, yet respectful, manner. Keep it professional, not personal.
  10. Asking yourself “do you want to be right or do you want to be effective?” How can you work with others to get to the best result?

Dealing with conflict is clearly a challenge for many of us in our work and in our lives. And our responses run the gamut from dealing with it quickly to avoiding it at all costs.

For business leaders, unless you are working with your team on a regular basis to use conflict to your advantage, it can end up eating up much of your time while you play mediator among the warring factions.

In my next article, I will provide some guidelines for turning conflict from a negative force to a positive one in your organization.  Stay tuned.

#conflict #dealingwithconflict #dealingwithdifficultpeople #leadership #deliberateleadership

 

The True Power of Gratitude

express your gratitude - advice on a sticky note against burlap canvas

A few years back, after attending a personal development workshop, I experienced the true power of gratitude.  At this session, we were asked to think about someone who made a big impact in our lives and to write a letter to that person, expressing how we felt.

As a serial over-achiever, I wrote two letters:  one was based on a professional impact, the other, more personal.

The first letter was written to someone I went to work for at a significant turning point in my life.  The job opportunity involved both a relocation and a change in professional direction.  In retrospect, I realize this man took a big risk hiring me; I also took a giant risk going to work for him.

Many of my friends in the organization advised me against the move.  The man is a tyrant, they said.  The last two people in this role lasted one week and one day, respectively.  Wow! I thought; how could I turn down a challenge like that one?

As it turned out, this was the single best career decision I ever made. The organization was going through a period of tremendous growth and rapid change and I learned a lot in a very short time.  Because I worked to gain his trust, he gave me lots of responsibility and lots of latitude. What an opportunity!

I learned so many valuable lessons working for him, including how to get my point across quickly, concisely and with impact.  I learned the value of taking immediate and full responsibility of mistakes and problems and I learned to respect and appreciate progress rather than waiting for perfect.

When I wrote, and told him these things, he was clearly blown away. People don’t do things like this, especially in the world of big business.  But who among us doesn’t long to be appreciated and valued for the difference we make?

The reality is that it sometimes takes years to truly appreciate the difference someone made in your life.  While I was working hard and dealing with the day to day frustrations and challenges, I did not stop to think of what I was gaining from the experience.  It was only in retrospect that I could clearly see it.

The second letter was more personal, written to a former family member.  She, too, had a big impact on me in my formative 20’s.  This woman was always a class act, treating people with respect and kindness. From her, I learned the beauty and value of a true loving, supportive partnership between two people, which led me to important changes in my personal relationships.

Also, though she was one of the best and brightest business people I ever knew, she was humbly content to operate in the background while others got the credit for her leadership and her ideas. At the same time, she did not allow people to steamroll her or take advantage; she had incredible inner strength and fortitude.  In fact, she gained the respect of many business people at a time when women did not get much credit for their contributions.  She had a very impressive way of balancing all the competing needs to do the right thing.

She was clearly moved by my letter.  She wrote and told me how much it meant to her to receive such acknowledgement; she had no idea I learned all these lessons by watching her.  After she passed, one of her family members told me she still had it nearby and read it often.  We all crave acknowledgement and appreciation.

I am forever grateful for having done this exercise and letting these people know how much I appreciated them and what I gained from having them as part of my life.

So, what about you?  To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?  Who made a lasting impact on you that you have never fully acknowledged and thanked?  To whom can you extend the true power of gratitude?

I’m challenging you – in this season for thanksgiving – though, any time is a good time – to write such a letter to someone who made a difference.  I promise, you will make someone’s day – and more.  And you will feel the true power of gratitude in your heart and soul.

And, of course, I’d love to hear back from you about your experience with this exercise.  Thank you for being with me, for reading my letters, for your kind comments and challenges and questions.  I truly appreciate hearing from you!

Wishing you all good things.