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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘conflict resolution’

Infographic: Don’t Get So Defensive!

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

We’ve all witnessed (or experienced) defensiveness in the workplace.

Person 1 takes Person 2’s  comments the wrong way and — perceiving he is under attack — issues a counterattack.  Person 2  feels hurt or threatened by Person 1’s response and says something negative back. Additional counterattacks are exchanged as the individuals become increasingly determined to defend themselves and justify their actions.

Don't Get So Defensive Infographic

CRM’s classic communication tutorial Communicating Non-Defensively: Don’t Take it Personally explains what can make people defensive while demonstrating practical communication skills for nipping it in the bud.

We’ve summarized some of the content in this infographic (opens a PDF). We hope you find it useful.

4 Ways to Combat Negativity at Work

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

attitudevirusworkforce_thumbNegativity in the workplace can be related to overwork, job insecurity, lack of leadership, boredom, lack of rewards, personality conflicts and many other factors.

Any one of us can be tempted to “go negative” from time to time.  Sadly, for some, it is the way they communicate most of the time. Whether you are working to combat your own negativity or are needing to respond to negativity from others, here are a few things to keep in mind: (more…)

The Power of Boundaries

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

“It felt like I had no choice.” These words were spoken by a successful corporate executive who managed million-dollar high-tech projects, and pioneered new ways of communicating within her organization and for her clients.

She was describing what can happen when we don’t have good boundaries.

CRM -- 452 compressed“I resented feeling like I had to say ‘yes’ to every request, no matter what,” she continued, “I watched colleagues heading out to lunch, going home at a reasonable hour, while feeling like I had to make the client happy at any cost.”

You might think this was an expectation within her corporate culture. It wasn’t. As she came to realize, it was a question of her own boundaries — or lack thereof. (more…)

Hostile Emails at Work

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Emailing in Business CommunicationIt’s a common, maddening occurrence: You innocently open an email from a colleague, customer or boss only to suddenly feel ambushed by its contents. The sender blames you for a problem you didn’t create, unfairly accuses you of sabotaging a project, or negatively interprets something you said. Even worse, he or she cc’s the email to your superiors.

As you stare at the offensive message, your vision blurs. You feel blood rushing to your face. Your heart beats faster. Your stomach drops. Your strongest impulse is to render justice by striking back.

Though it’s hard to remember, you do have a choice in that moment. You can either react out of anger, and fire back a harsh retort, or you can close the infuriating email, and calm down.

Which do you do? Our survey reveals that the usual response is to get ticked off, and retaliate. You then get into a battle with that person that can last for weeks at a time.

Opportunities to take offense in the world of email are high. Email is a form of communication without buffers, interpreters or pauses. The cc mechanism lends itself to either “tattling” on your co-workers or being told on to your supervisors.

But if your goal is to resolve workplace conflicts without hurting your reputation, reacting in anger doesn’t work. Why? Because you’re likely to send your first (and worst) thoughts to the recipient. Angry email responses injure the relationship, and damage your credibility.

The first thing to do when an email makes your blood boil is to calm yourself down. Draft files were created to hold (and filter) our angry e-bursts. Why is it that so few people are able to answer hostile emails in a cool and professional way? Because the temptation to immediately “fire back” an email when you think you’ve been attacked is very strong.

The next time someone sends an e-missle your way, take whatever steps you can to cool down before responding. We recommend: closing the email, getting up from your desk, stretching, taking a few deep breaths, splashing water on your face, or walking around your office floor to collect your thoughts. If you can cool off, you’ll have a much better chance of responding in a calmer, more professional, more effective way.

By Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley. Used with permission. Visit their website: http://www.ksquaredenterprises.com/

Need help in this area? Working With You is Killing Me, hosted by Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley, provides the antidote to becoming “hooked” by a toxic co-worker, showing exactly how to take responsibility for addressing the problem and put a stop to it all.

The Decision to Get Involved – 4 Things to Consider

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Conflict Management TrainingConflicts occur in our workplace daily.  And when they do, the conflict rarely impacts just the two people involved. The question is—when is it appropriate for a third party to intervene?  It’s always best for the two people to work the conflict out on their own, but sometimes they simply can’t…or won’t.

Anyone who begins to try to help other people in a conflict situation must first come to grips with their own internal conflict about whether or not to intervene. These factors have proven to be important indicators as to the appropriateness of intervening. (more…)

Conflict Resolution – Six Steps to Manage Disagreements Successfully

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Author: Bill and Joann Truby

A man at the airport was very emotional, actually, quite livid. He was shouting about missing his plane because the monitors were wrong in giving the gate information. He was big, tall and angry as he ran up to the counter. My wife and I were sitting by one of our clients at an airport watching as he ran up to where two female agents stood behind the counter. He slammed his books down on the counter top and began furiously ranting about missing his flight. His voice loud, his body shaking, and his fists were clenched. The two women were obviously frightened. We could see them physically shrink from this aggressive man. They were in conflict.

I got up and began to walk the thirty feet into the scene. Within approximately thirty seconds after engaging with this man, he was calmed into dealing with the situation more rationally. Using the principles in this article a furious, ranting, rather childish man, in aggressive conflict with two ticket agents, was changed back into a rational adult, able to come to resolution over the conflict. What was the magic? The natural principles and laws that promote effective conflict resolution. (more…)

Calming Yourself Down – The Key to Not Making Matters Worse

Monday, September 20th, 2010

On the surface, organizations are about making money, delivering goods and services, and producing results. Scratch the surface of any organization, though, and you uncover a hotbed of emotions: people feeling anxious about performance, angry with co-workers, and misunderstood by management. Leaders are burnt out and workers are buried in resentment. Because many organizations call for unemotional behavior, individual feelings are often suppressed. Workers think their only options are to suck it up or quit.

People want to be productive and happy at work, but instead feel emotionally trapped. We have all had experiences with co-workers who drive us crazy. We get drawn into their personal problems, bad work habits, and irritating behaviors.

These situations drain our souls and harm our organizations, because the strength of an organization is in its employees. When there are problems in the workplace, it will affect the bottom line sooner or later.

What are some of the outcomes or consequences of unhealthy relationships at work?

• Employees don’t enjoy going to work

• People feel overwhelmed or disrespected on the job

• Tardiness, absenteeism, sick leave

• Reduced productivity or work quality

• Mental replay of conversations or interactions; inability to “get over it”

• Fatigue, illness, exhaustion

• Headaches, tension, stress

While handling workplace conflict is a multifaceted process, the first step you should take when you become frustrated – BEFORE you address the other person – is to calm down physically.

It’s a fact that when you are angry or upset, physical activity can often help you calm down and see the situation more objectively. It doesn’t have to be a 30-minute run – any type of physical movement can help you relax and think. Taking a physical break can often defuse your frustration and put you in a better position to think about the situation.

As an example, think about a time when you attended a meeting and something was said that upset you. What was your response? Did you become angry and then “check out” mentally? That’s a coping mechanism, but not one that offers you control. Deep breathing to calm yourself and release a little anger can help you check back into the meeting and respond objectively. Some other ideas for helping you physically calm down before dealing with a workplace conflict:

• Deep breathing

• Walk the hallway

• Step outside and enjoy the weather

• Splash cold water on your face

• Count to ten

Once you have gained control of your body and mind, you can more clearly think about the conflict situation and how to address your concerns with the other person.

Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to the video program Working With You is Killing Me.

Training Resource: Working With You is Killing Me offers practical advice on how to “unhook” from emotional traps at work and save yourself from needless stress.

Activity: From Conflict to Collaboration

Friday, September 17th, 2010

In solving conflicts, one of the best things you can do is to strive for collaboration. When collaborating, each person in the conflict works to uncover the other person’s underlying concerns so that everyone understands what is really behind the conflict and the resolution can address most (if not all) of both parties’ concerns.

Common communication tools used in collaboration are: active listening, questioning that reveals a willingness to understand (such as “What is it about this situation that bothers you the most?”), expressing your own concerns without being overly emotional, sticking to the issue at hand and taking responsibility for your role in the conflict.

Here is a quick role play activity you can use to help people practice using collaboration as a conflict resolution method.

Group Activity: Collaborating (35 minutes)

1) Before the exercise, prepare envelopes for each pair of participants. On the outside of the envelope, write a conflict situation that could conceivably occur within an organization (or within your organization, specifically). Inside the envelope, place two slips of paper. On Slip #1, list a job description for Employee #1, as well as an underlying concern for them in the conflict. On Slip #2, list a job description for Employee #2, as well as an underlying concern for them in the conflict.

2) Remind the participants that the skills of active listening and open communication play a key role in helping to uncover underlying concerns in a conflict.

3) State that the goal of the role playing exercise is to get the other party to move past his or her position, and into collaboration. To achieve that, they will need to discover the concerns that are fueling the conflict.

4) Ask the participants to pair up for the role playing exercise. Then pass out the envelopes that you have prepared ahead of the session. Before they begin, ask them to reflect on their positions. They should think about the level of assertiveness they need to bring in defending their position and how willing they will be to cooperate when it comes to meeting the other person’s needs.

5) Have the group begin the role playing exercise. Set a time limit of 15 minutes.

6) After the role playing is completed, ask the group to discuss their experiences. Were they able to identify the position of the other party? Were they able to reveal the underlying concerns? How? Were they successful in moving toward a collaboration? Why or why not?

Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide for the CRM Learning video, Dealing With Conflict.

Training Resource: Dealing with Conflict shows why “collaboration” – which includes getting to the heart of what’s most important to the other party — is typically your best conflict resolution strategy.

Training Success Story: Being Prepared When Conflict Happens

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The Need: A major manufacturer of large vehicles and equipment with over 7500 employees was looking for a conflict management module to train their managers and leaders. The training department saw a need for conflict management skills to be taught in the event that conflicts were to arise in the company.

The Solution: After previewing different programs, the company chose CRM Learning’s What to Do When Conflict Happens and implemented it into their management/leadership course. The trainer felt the video program provided them with exactly what they were looking for as it addresses conflict from different perspectives, both in office environments and on the shop floor.

The Success Story: All manufacturing management and team leaders will be required to complete the training. To date 70% of management has attended. The training is being done in a classroom environment, with discussion before and after the video is viewed. Discussions center around the topic of workplace conflict and how to spot and handle situations that may arise.

The trainer wrote his own curriculum for the class and uses the video and materials as a centerpiece to show examples of conflict situations and how to work through them. The training module that was developed includes several practical simulations where the potential for conflict is present. During the exercises, participants work together as a team to dispel and solve the conflict. The C.A.L.M. Model from the video is utilized as a tool and a solution for dispelling and resolving conflict when it happens.

The C.A.L.M model is a four-step process of: Clarify the situation, Address the problem, Listen to both sides and Manage your way to resolution. When used in this order, the C.A.L.M. model gives a process that is easy for everyone to understand and use to work through their disagreements.

Handouts of the C.A.L.M model are distributed for future reference. The managers and team leaders can refer back to them when they see a conflict arising on the floor or in the office. Participants are also to develop their own plan of how they will manage conflict resolution, and to follow up with individuals after they have had to step into a conflict situation.

In all, after they have gone through the training, managers and team leaders are giving more thought to the subject of conflict, how it occurs, how it can escalate, and how they can play their role as leaders in solving conflict between their team members.

Watch the trailer, full-length preview or learn more about What To Do When Conflict Happens.


 

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