4 Ways to Manage Conflict in the Office
Guidelines on how to resolve conflict when you’re the new guy in the office.
January 5, 2010
|Congratulations are in order: You got yourself a wonderful new
job! You’ve completed your on-boarding, have a good feel for what’s
needed and an even better feel for what’s expected of you. What’s
more, you are already exerting a positive influence.
But wait. Conflict and drama alert.
Examples of conflict rearing its head early in a job include:
It’d be okay if this were a one-time occurrence. But it’s not — it’s happening increasingly. And you see how it’s affecting you: Your brain’s gone numb. Your mood has soured. You’ve stopped reaching out to brainstorm and collaborate. You’re guarded and on edge, less engaged, more inflexible. None of this is good.
You must figure out how to deal with all of this. It’s time — as Craig E. Runde and Tim A. Flanagan, authors of “Becoming a Conflict Competent Leader,” say — for you to become more personally competent in dealing with all of this conflict.
Conflict like this can make or break a career. That’s why I decided to get certified and provide advice on how to react in these situations. (Note: The information here is used with permission from The Center for Conflict Dynamics.)
How to be conflict competent
To become more conflict competent, you need a real grasp of the following three factors:
The Conflict Dynamics Profile, an assessment that specifically deals with conflict behaviors in the workplace, illustrates:
Constructive responses are task focused, while destructive ones focus on personalities. And all conflict begins with a precipitating event, frequently in which a participant’s “hot buttons” are pushed.
It happens in an instant. Someone says or does something — intentionally or otherwise — that, as Runde and Flanagan say, “causes us to believe that their interests, goals, principles or feelings are incompatible with, and threatening to, our own.”
More viscerally, we’re flooded with emotions: anger, fear and frustration. Our fight/flight instinct kicks in with an immediacy and intensity that quickly overwhelms. We’re out of our game, wanting to lash out, or go run and hide … or both. In other words, we’ve been triggered.
It’s important to realize that becoming more conflict competent is an iterative process. You’ll do well for a while, and then you won’t; you’ll start improving again, and then you’ll slip. The following haikus really say it all:
I got a new job / The people are really great / Except when they’re not.
I cannot change them / I can only change myself / so I must now change.
Adrenaline rush / Undeniable tension / I have been triggered.
Hot buttons cooling / Triggers all under control / Except when they’re not.
So, to decrease the impact of your missteps, take the following advice to heart:
With practice and persistence, it will become easier
to stay poised in the moment and not let your hot buttons control
|Barry Zweibel, MBA | Master Certified Coach, is president of LeadershipTraction. He can be reached at 847-291-9735, info@LeadershipTraction.com, or www.leadershiptraction.com.|
|Original Source: http://www.theladders.com/career-advice/4-ways-manage-conflict-office. ©2010, TheLadders|