Working together can be tough. It’s inevitable that when two or more employees work side-by-side, day-after-day, they will experience conflict. Some will start wearing on others’ nerves. Having a disagreement with someone isn’t a big deal. It’s a normal occurrence in a healthy workplace.
The problems start when employees make bad choices
What can be a big deal is how coworkers handle the situation. Most employees don’t do it well. They usually pursue one of three strategies, none of which lead to positive results:
- Avoid the person and/or issue, meaning things never get resolved.
- Go aggressive and escalate the situation into a big fight which at best is uncomfortable and at worst can permanently damage relationships.
- Become passive-aggressive, turning to gossip or sarcasm. This not only doesn’t solve the problem, it usually gets a lot more people mixed up in the conflict.
Same tune, different song
This topic goes by many names. We’ve done them all.
- Conflict management
- Dealing with difficult behaviors
- Working out differences
- Bridging the generational gap
- Resolving disputes
The skills that lead to conflict resolution
The principles are always the same, and that’s where we put our focus. We want workshop participants to walk away confident that they can:
- Analyze the situation so that they can make a better decision about what action, if any, they should take to address the situation.
- Prepare for a difficult conversation to increase the odds things will go well.
- Express concerns and their points of view in a manner that reduces the chances others will become defensive.
- Respond skillfully to people who are defensive or overly aggressive.
- Listen respectfully to gain a better understanding of what’s really going on.
- Follow a standard problem solving process to give tough conversations some structure.
Everyone needs practice
These workshops are always popular. Everyone benefits from learning how to work through disagreements with coworkers.
While some progress can be made in an hour, two hours is about the perfect amount of time necessary to explain a few of the key concepts and give participants a chance to try them out.
Give your employees the tools they need to succeed.