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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘conflict resolution’

How Interpersonal Conflict Hurts Organizations

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Interpersonal conflicts can wreak havoc on an organization. Whether it’s a silent war between departments, a hostile relationship between two co-workers, or a damaging relationship with a vendor, when two or more people are caught in an interpersonal tug-of-war, the organization pays
the price.

In fact, it is estimated that 20-50% of work time is routinely wasted on bickering, backstabbing, vying for approval and other forms of emotional inefficiency. 

Instead of focusing on the work at hand, employees spend time recovering from interactions with a bullying boss, or griping with their colleagues about an irritating co-worker. Sometimes, the most capable employee becomes the least productive worker because he or she is burnt out from months of compensating for less motivated members of the work team.

Emotional inefficiency can develop from something as simple as a constant noise distraction whereby one loud, talkative person eats up hours of other people’s concentration. It can also occur between departments–one team becomes resentful of another team’s inability to meet deadlines. Instead of resolving the problem, a cold war ensues. Both sides quietly sabotage the other.

One approach to solving this problem is to offer individuals concrete skills for managing their workplace relationships.

Ø      If your workplace consists of cubicles and open workspaces where there is little privacy and plenty of pressure, you can hold workshops in setting boundaries and teach co-workers how to respect each other’s space so that optimal productivity takes place.

Ø      If employees have trouble understanding what is expected of them from their bosses, they can be taught the skill of Managing Up – taking concrete steps to meet with, report to, and get direction from the people who supervise them.

Ø      If you have four generations of employees with distinctly different experience levels and values, you can prevent cross-generational rifts by building awareness and tolerance through diversity training and instructing people in the soft skills of team building and communication.

The ability to resolve personal conflicts ultimately rests with the individual. Yet, companies are in a unique position to assist their employees in this area. Learning soft skills is the toughest part of any job. To improve the bottom line and guarantee a happier workforce, organizations must consider investing in the people side of making work work.




Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster are co-authors of the nationally best-selling book, Working With You is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work. For over twenty years, they have helped people within corporations, government agencies and universities manage workplace relationships. To see the CRM Learning training video based on their book go to: www.media-partners.com/conflict_resolution/working_with_you_is_killing_me.htm



Training Success Story: Working With You Is Killing Me!

Monday, September 29th, 2008

The ROE Report Results: The results are in from an independently-conducted “Return on Expectations” (ROE) study recently conducted with CRM Learning customers who used the best-selling video “Working With You Is Killing Me” – and they’re over the top!

The CRM customers surveyed reported that this program met or exceeded expectations 95 percent of the time. Customers were selected from the banking, insurance, energy and consulting world and interviewed over the phone by an independent research firm. Each client was told that all answers would be anonymous and aggregated into a central database in order to ensure unbiased feedback.

About the Video Program: “Working With You Is Killing Me” is an unvarnished look at the unique challenges in working with difficult people. One survey respondent noted that the title alone was delightful, which broke the ice at the beginning of each training session and led to more meaningful and honest discussion. “They loved the title,” the client said, “it sounded like fun, and people could really resonate with it.”

Training expectations: Clients said they used the program with a range of groups of all sizes, from supervisors to entry-level employees. Two had used the program for more than six months. Several planned to use the program as part of formal leadership, management and team-building training, but others found it extremely useful for “customized interventions,” to help in specific situations where both parties needed to remain calm. Several stated they planned to use the training specifically for management of conflict resolution.

“It was simple enough,” one respondent noted, “but the video didn’t talk down to anyone. I even showed it to a group of directors, and saw some taking notes, which is saying a lot!”

One client told a very personal story of how he used “Working With You Is Killing Me” to help with a specific employee, inviting him to sit down and view the video together. “We laughed when the video talked about ‘toxic relationships’,” the client reported. “This was just what he was dealing with. He’s worked on his problem and he’s now fine.”

Other clients noted they heard the language of the program being used in situations at the office, so it’s clear that employees have internalized the training.

When asked if they would recommend the program to others, all clients responded with an emphatic yes. “I already have,” said one, “several times.”

Watch a Free Full Length Preview of Working With You is Killing Me:


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