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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

10 Workplace Peeves

Monday, November 16th, 2009

In today’s workplace, there are certain situations and behaviors that some people see as disruptive and just plain annoying…and, if ignored, can turn into bigger conflicts.  Here are 10 of the most common (in no particular order):

1. Ringing cell phones
2. Conducting personal business over the phone, loudly enough for co-workers to hear
3. Whiny co-workers (especially those who complain about everything but are never willing to do anything to change things)
4. Checking voicemail with the “speaker phone” turned on (especially if you work in a cubicle)
5. Loud talkers
6. Wearing too much fragrance (cologne or perfume)
7. People who barge in, or interrupt, when it’s clear you are busy
8. Being “cc’d” on emails that don’t really involve you
9. People who use off-color language
10. Co-workers who: leave an empty coffee pot, neglect to refill the paper tray, use the last paper towel and walk away, etc.

The people who create these situations or act in this way usually don’t even know they’re bothering people. And the people who are negatively impacted by the behaviors are usually reluctant to do anything about it. But left unchecked, tensions can build over time.

Here’s a simple way you, as a leader or trainer, can get seemingly minor workplace annoyances out in the open and keep them from turning into full-fledged conflicts.

1) Add any other potential annoyances you can think of to the list above and send it to your staff. Ask people to identify the ones that bother them the most.

2) Tally the results and use the findings to illustrate how an action that didn’t bother some people, really bothered others. Use this as an illustration of workplace diversity and respect, and request that people accept and acknowledge everyone’s differences.

3) If you like, gather your team together in person to further discuss the results. You may wish to ask the following questions and/or make the following points:

  • •  What are some signs (body language, verbal cues, nonverbal cues, behavior) that might indicate someone at work is bothered by something you are doing?
  • •  What can you do to be more considerate of people even when you see a situation differently than they do?
  • •  How do you feel when someone is thoughtful and considerate toward you?
  • •  Sometimes you’re not aware of what bothers someone else. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they’re bothered. Be more aware of behaviors that might clue you in.
  • •  Consider situations that really bother some people but don’t bother you at all. These differences of opinion are a sign of diversity. Being considerate is about being more accepting of other people’s differences.
  • •  Remember—the workplace is a shared environment. Everyone has the same rights as everyone else. If we work at being thoughtful and considerate to everyone at work, we will do our job better and be more productive and more successful.

4) Pick 3 of the behaviors your group identified as most annoying and gain everyone’s commitment not to do these things for a week. Follow-up to see if the behaviors have been curtailed.

Taken, in part, from the Leader’s Guide for the CRM Learning program, Start Right…Stay Right.

Need help in this area? Our comprehensive Start Right…Stay Right training program lets you train on 24 success behaviors, including “Be Considerate”.

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.

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




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